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'ture by Lodovico da Parma, in the National Gallery. See p. 624. 







THERE is a passage in Ruskin's Prttterifa, in which the 
critic, while betraying perhaps some lack of apprecia- 
tion for the work of other monastic bodies, speaks with 
enthusiasm of the Carthusians, and declares that "they 
have had a more directly wholesome influence on the 
outer world than any other order of monks so narrow in 
number and restricted in habitation." 

" In their strength," he continues, " from the founda- 
tion of the Order at the close of the eleventh century, 
to the beginning of the fourteenth, they reared in their 
mountain fastnesses, and sent out to minister to the 
world a succession of men of immense mental grasp, 
and serenely authoritative innocence ; among whom 
our own Hugo of Lincoln, in his relations with Henry II. 
and Cceur de Lion, is to my mind the most beautiful 
sacerdotal figure known to me in history. The great 
Pontiffs have a power which in its strength can scarcely 
be used without cruelty, nor in its scope without error ; 
the great saints are always in some degree incredible or 
unintelligible ; but Hugo's power is in his own personal 
courage and justice only; and his sanctity as clear, 
frank, and playful as the waves of his own Chartreuse 
well." 1 

1 Prceterita, Hi. i. "The original building was grouped round a 
spring in the rock, from which a rivulet was directed through every cell." 
(Mr. Ruskin's footnote.) 


That this is no extravagant eulogy will be most 
readily admitted by those who are best acquainted with 
the life of St. Hugh, and with the religious history of 
his times. 

It is strange that so commanding and attractive a 
personality should not yet have found an English 
biographer to do justice to his memory. Of all our 
mediaeval saints, there is not one in whom the man, as 
distinct from the bishop or the ruler, is so intimately 
known to us. Even St. Thomas of Canterbury, or 
St. Anselm, are spectral and shadowy figures in 
comparison. Hugh, thanks to the memoirs of his Bene- 
dictine chaplain, stands before us in flesh and blood. 
Despite its rather involved Latin, and its discursive 
style, the Life of the Saint known as the Magna Vita, has 
left us a portrait superior, for truth and vividness, even 
to the sketch of his contemporary, Abbot Samson, in 
the Chronicle of Jocelin de Brakelond. 1 And St. Hugh 
was not merely a good healthy type of character, a 
model ecclesiastic as ecclesiastics went in those days, 
like the energetic Abbot of Bury St. Edmunds ; he was 
all that, and he was a Saint besides. Not a narrow- 
minded Saint by any means, if there can be such a 
thing as a narrow-minded Saint, but still one in whose 
history we meet at every turn the heroic example of 
old-fashioned virtues of mortification, of prayerful- 
ness, of charity, truth, and zeal. 

The Life which is here presented to the reader is for 
the most part a translation of the French Vie de St. Hugues 
de Lincoln? which was published by a monk of the 
Grande Chartreuse in 1890. From one cause or another 
the production of the book in its present form has 

>espite many inaccuracies of detail, much of the spirit of that 
delightful chronicle is faithfully reproduced in Carlyle's Past and Present. 

Vit dt St. Hugues, Chartreux, Evequt de Lincoln (11401200) par 
un ReUgieiu de la Grande Chartreuse, Montreuil, 1890. 


entailed almost as much labour as the composition of 
an original work would have done, and the Editor has 
more than once been tempted to regret, when it was 
too late, that he had not cut himself entirely free from 
the trammels imposed by a rendering from another 
language. The English version, however, had already 
been made, and had become the property of the 
Manresa Press before the duties of editorship de- 
volved upon him. If the name of the translator does 
not appear upon the title-page, the omission is not 
due to any wish to ignore the service so rendered, 
but only to the fact that in editing it for publication 
very many changes have been made in the version 
throughout, and parts of it even rewritten. It is 
possible that a number of these changes might not be 
regarded by the translator, or others, as changes for the 
better, and it seems fairer to leave the responsibility 
indeterminate than to assign any definite name to what 
is really the work of more than one hand. If any 
difference of style be detected between the earlier and 
later portion of the book, it is chiefly to be referred to 
the process of revision just spoken of. In the first few 
chapters the French as originally translated has been 
more closely adhered to, in the later the Editor has 
allowed himself considerably greater latitude. 

Although the Preface, the Appendices, and occa- 
sionally portions of the text, of the French Life have 
been omitted, the printed matter contained in the book 
has been increased by more than one-third, i.e., by the 
equivalent of more than two hundred pages of the 
present volume. This is due to the large number of 
additional topics which have been dealt with in the text 
or in the notes, a list of which, under the heading 
Additions, will be found in the Index. To the substantial 
facts of the history of St. Hugh's career, the Editor 
can claim to have contributed little that is new. 


Perhaps the most interesting of the points here touched 
upon for the first time is the connection between the 

ret of this biography and the revelations of the 
monk of Eynsham. 1 The fact that St. Hugh must have 
been personally acquainted with many of those whose 
fate in the next world is there described, lends emphasis 
to the share taken by him in the publication of the 
vision. Again, a rather important chronological error, 
which has led Mr. Dimock, and with him all subsequent 
English writers, to antedate by five years the coming of 
St. Hugh to England, and hence to make the Saint five 
years older than he really was, has at last, I think, been 
finally disposed of. 2 The author of the French Life had 
already rectified this mistake, but his correction is now 
further justified by an extract from the Bruton Chartu- 
lary, and by the indisputable evidence of an entry in 
the Norman Exchequer Rolls, to which attention had 
not previously been directed. 3 

The Editor's principal aim, however, has been 
to supplement the information given by the French 
biographer in those features of the Life which have 
a special bearing upon English history or English 
institutions, or which depend upon local knowledge 
not easily accessible to a monk writing at a distance, 
and with the restrictions imposed by the Rule of 

1 Sec pp. 348, seq., and Appendix L, pp. 617, seq. 
1 See pp. 90, seq., and Appendix A, p. 599. 

1 It is interesting to note the links which connect our English Saints 

one with another, and I may call attention here, amongst minor novelties. 

lo the evidence which shows that St. Hugh was personally acquainted with 

m of Sempringham. The learned doyen of the Bollandists, Kather 

Smedt, in a visit to Oxford, having very kindly examined the Codex 

gby 360, transcribed for me the passage printed in the footnote on page 

I may also, perhaps, notice the fact that the Cistercian 

. Peter of Tarentaise, to whom, as recounted on pp. 6064, 

Hugh was so affectionately devoted, was himself trained up. in the 

jrljr days of Citeaux. by the Englishman who was practically the founder 

of the Order. St. Stephen Harding. 


the Grande Chartreuse. That must be my excuse 
for dwelling, perhaps somewhat unduly, upon such 
questions as perpetual vicarages, St. Hugh's grants 
of churches, the right of sanctuary, the character of 
Henry II., &c., and particularly on the Cathedral, the 
Jewry, and the leper hospital of Lincoln, the site of the 
house where St. Hugh died in London, and of the 
tomb where his remains first reposed. 

But whatever may be gleaned in this way from 
antiquarian researches or local histories, as well as the 
few additional details supplied by Giraldus Cambrensis 
and the chroniclers, must all be regarded as little more 
than a commentary upon the facts of the great Latin 
Life, commonly known as the Magna Vita S. Hugonis. 
That is the one record of supreme importance, without 
which no Life of St. Hugh worthy of the name could 
ever have been written. To the Rev. James Dimock, 
who edited the text of the Magna Vita in 1864, for the 
Rolls Series, the credit is due of having first clearly 
proved that the author was a certain Benedictine monk 
named Adam, the chaplain of the Saint, and that at a 
later period, when Abbot of Eynsham, this same Adam 
gave evidence before the Papal delegates in the cause 
of his master's canonization. The correctness of 
Mr. Dimock's conclusions as to the authorship has since 
been placed beyond a doubt by the testimony, recently 
discovered, of a contemporary writer. 1 From what 
Abbot Adam himself tells us, we learn that he did not 
enter the Bishop's service until November, 1197, a 
little more than three years before St. Hugh's death. 2 

1 Ralph Coggeshall, the Chronicler. The passage is quoted on pp. 350, 

35 1 - 

2 He records that he entered St. Hugh's household three years and five 
days before the Bishop's death, and during all that time there was only 
one night that he did not sleep under the same roof with his master. The 
minute accuracy of these details is characteristic of the man. 


He seems, however, to have been a man of great 
powers of observation, and to have possessed a remark- 
ably retentive memory. As St. Hugh spoke freely and 
unreservedly about his own past history to those whom 
he trusted, the result has been that the chaplain was 
able to gather from his patron's own lips a singularly 
complete account of all that had befallen him. This he 
supplemented by information gleaned from various 
other sources. He paid sundry visits to the Charter- 
house of Witham, and it was the Witham monks 
themselves who first begged him to undertake the task 
of writing the Life of their former Prior. Even the 
persecution of the Church during the reign of John, 
which drove Adam, with many another worthy ecclesi- 
astic, into temporary exile, was in some sense of 
assistance to him in the composition of his book. For 
three months of this time he took up his quarters in 
Paris with Raymund, a connection of the Saint, who 
was afterwards Canon of Lincoln and Archdeacon of 
Leicester. We cannot doubt that Raymund, who, more 
than ten years before had entertained the Bishop himself 
and this same chaplain, Adam, when on their way to 
the Grande Chartreuse, 1 will have been able to add 
something to his store of anecdotes about the early years 
of the kinsman he delighted to honour. 

But what doubles and trebles the value of all this 
material, is the conviction, which no careful student of 
the Magna Vita can fail to carry away, of the absolute 
sincerity and truthfulness of the writer. Mr. Dimock, 
who, as an Anglican clergyman of no very advanced 
views, might not unnaturally be suspicious of the 
stories of miracles which abound in the Life, expresses 

1 They spent several weeks at the Grande Chartreuse, and in the 
neighbourhood. This visit must have afforded the chaplain many oppor- 
itie of ascertaining the facts of the Bishop's early life from those who 
knew him in former days. 


his opinion of the author's veracity in the strongest 
terms. "We may look," he says, "upon much of what 
this volume contains, almost as if it had been penned 
by Hugh's own hand." Or again, speaking of the 
chaplain's perfectly candid account of the " snubbing " 
administered to him by St. Hugh in a dream, in regard 
of a miraculous apparition of the Holy Child Jesus in 
the Blessed Eucharist, 1 Mr. Dimock remarks : " There 
were few monks indeed in those days, who writing 
the history of a beloved and revered friend, already 
regarded as a saint, and famous for miracles, . . . would 
have told this story as our author has done. We could 
only expect that a story so glorifying to the hero . . . 
would have been at the best simply related, as he had 
been told it by one of the two actors in it, with no 
shadow of doubt cast upon it. ... As it is, he has 
given us a proof of his rigid accuracy and truthfulness, 
than which it seems to me scarcely possible to imagine 
a more strong and convincing one." 

" I might add much to the same purpose," Mr. 
Dimock continues, " but it seems to me needless. 
I shall just remark, however, that in much of what 
our author relates, he is fully corroborated by con- 
temporary history ; as, for instance, in the curious and 
somewhat marvellous narrative of the supposititious 
child related in lib. iv. cap. 5 ; where, while of course 
he enters more into particulars, his main facts will be 
found confirmed by the certain testimony of entries in 
the public records of the kingdom. 2 So far as I can 
see, there is every reason to consider him a most 
truthful and accurate writer." 3 

1 See p. 559, and pp. 340, seq. 

2 See below, p. 307. In Mr. Dimock's notes to this passage full evidence 
is given of what he has here asserted. (Magna Vita, pp. 170, seq.) 

3 Preface, pp. xlvi. xlvii. Again Mr. Dimock says, p. Ixv. : "I have 
spoken strongly and confidently of the author's accuracy and truthfulness," 
and then he proceeds to indicate a few errors into which Abbot Adam has 


This question of the trustworthiness of our chief, 
and in matters our only authority, is one of such 

:iary importance, that I have more than once called 
attention in the course of the Life, to evidence which 
confirms it or explains apparent difficulties. In 
particular the reader may be referred to the large type 
notes which follow chapters iii. and v. of the fourth 
book, 1 relating respectively to the cure of sufferers from 
St. Anthony's fire and to the miracle of the bleeding 
loaves. In both the one case and the other, a super- 
ficial critic who was no believer in miracles, would be 
tempted to conclude that the author at last stood 
convicted, flagrant* delicto, of a barefaced imposture. 
But as pointed out in the notes in question, I venture 
to think that a more careful examination of the evidence 
will lead to an exactly opposite conviction. It is a 
striking thing to notice how Abbot Adam's belief in 
miracles in no way deters him from recording with 
perfect sincerity the points which tell against them, 
and the same tendency may be remarked in several 
other instances which it is needless to specify in detail. 2 
After all it would be strange indeed, if one who stood 
in such a relation to St. Hugh as Abbot Adam did, 
were not conspicuous for his straightforwardness and 
honesty. One of the Saint's most striking virtues was 

fallen. Adam certainly seems to have made a slip in assigning fifteen 
instead of fourteen years to St. Hugh's pontificate, but, on the other hand, 
in asserting the presence of William the Lion at the Saint's funeral, the 
biographer seems to me to be right, and Hoveden and Mr. Dimock to be 
wrong. At any rate, there are four independent and contemporary 
authorities to be set against Hoveden's unsupported statement (See below. 
P- 547. n.) Mr. Dimock only mentions one other supposed error in the 
Magma Vita, and in this case the confusion may be due to some blunder 
of the copyists. 

1 Pp. 478, seq. and 505. seq. 

One conspicuous illustration may be found in Adam's account of the 
cure of thesc-called witch of Bugden. (See below, pp. 402, 403 ; Magn* 
vtla, pp. 267369.) 


his punctiliousness in point of truth ; l it is not likely 
that so keen a judge of men would have chosen for 
his constant companion, his confessor, and his most 
intimate friend, a Religious who in this respect was 
unworthy of his confidence. 2 

It may perhaps be objected that a cloud hangs over 
Abbot Adam's last days, and that he died a disgraced 
man. To this I can only answer that we have absolutely 
no clear evidence which would warrant our holding 
him guilty of any grave moral fault. It is stated in 
the Dunstable annals that Adam, Abbot of Eynsham, 
in 1228 was deposed from his office by Hugh (de Wells), 
Bishop of Lincoln, " as a perjured person, and a 
manifest dilapidator of the goods of the abbey." As 
Mr. Dimock points out, it is not even certain that this 
may not be another Abbot of Eynsham of the same 
name, who succeeded the biographer of St. Hugh. 
That two Adams should rule the monastery in succes- 
sion would be a strange coincidence, but it is not 
absolutely impossible, for the name Adam was not 
then uncommon. Two other Abbot Adams besides our 
chaplain appear in the Magna Vita ; one was Abbot of 
Driburgh, who became a Carthusian at Witham, and 
was the chosen admonitor of St. Hugh, 3 the other was 
a Cistercian and Abbot of Perseigne, which St. Hugh 
visited on his way through Normandy in April, ngg. 4 
Again, it is unfortunately only too true that there were 

1 See Magna Vita, p. 197, and below, p. 304, p. 566, n. 2, p. 444, and 
p. 224. 

2 We have no choice between believing that Abbot Adam was either, 
as everything indicates, a most scrupulously truthful writer, or that he was 
utterly insincere. Both in his account of the revelation of the monk of 
Eynsham, written in 1196, and in the Magna Vita, written about seventeen 
years later, the chaplain makes profession directly and indirectly of 
exceptional care and accuracy. (See below, p. 619, cf. pp. 406, 550 ; Magna 
Vita, pp. 97, 221, &c.) 

3 See below, p. 240. 4 Ib. p. 450, n. 

xu i'REb'ACL. 

often cabals and factions in monastic houses at this 
period, and where discipline had grown relaxed, an Abbot 
who for strictness or any other reason became unpopular, 
might easily be made the victim of misrepresentation. 1 
Even such a man as Abbot Samson in the vigour of his 
age, had a very hard battle to fight with the unruly 
portion of his community at Bury St. Edmunds before 
he convinced them that he meant to be master. More- 
over, we seem to discover the germ of some hostile 
feeling at Eynsham against St. Hugh's chaplain in the 
passage of Ralph Coggeshall, which will be found 
quoted below on pp. 350, 351. ** Many of the Eynsham 
monks," he tells us, "decry the vision," i.e., the 
vision with which Adam had to some extent identified 
himself. But Ralph did not sympathize with them, and 
he describes Adam as "a most grave and religious 
man; " adding, " I do not believe that such a man, so 
religious and so learned, would have written these 
statements until they had been sufficiently tested." 
This is strong testimony, and all the stronger from the 
fact that Ralph Coggeshall was a Cistercian and would 
not have been prejudiced in favour of St. Hugh's 
Benedictine chaplain. As to the text of the Magna Vita, 
I have made no attempt to revise that printed by 
Mr. Dimock in the Rolls Series. This was based upon 
only two manuscripts, both imperfect,- but it is an 

1 It does not seem necessary to suppose that iheperjurus and dilapidate 
represent two distinct charges. If Abbot Adam had " manifestly wasted" 
the goods of the monastery, he would thereby have been ipso facto 
accounted perjurtu, i.e.. unfaithful to his oath to administer thriftily the 
property with which he was entrusted. A possible instance of indiscreet 
generosity on the part of the Abbot will be found referred to on p. 466. 
Moreover, Bishop Hugh de Wells had the reputation of being no friend to 
the monks, and he may have been more ready to listen to the malicious 
representations of an evilly-disposed faction at Eynsham, than other 
prelates would have been. 

Bodleian, Digby, 165 of the thirteenth century ; and Paris, Bib. Nat. 
5575. Fonds Latin; the Paris MS. fortunately made good the portions 
which were lacking in the English one. 


excellent text. Since Mr. Dimock's volume appeared 
other copies have become known. The whole of the 
Magna Vita was printed a few years since by the 
Carthusians in their Ephemendes from a copy revised in 
the seventeenth century by Dom Le Vasseur, and very 
long extracts may be found in Dom Le Couteulx' 
Annales Ordinis Carthusiensis. Besides this there is a 
manuscript which is or was in the possession of 
Earl Brownlow, 1 another in the National Library at 
Brussels, 2 and a third, which formerly belonged to 
the Chartreuse of Gaillon, in the municipal library of 
Louviers, No. 21. There seem to be few passages, 
however, in the Magna Vita, in which a difference of 
reading in the MSS. can be of any material interest. 3 

In comparison with the Magna Vita, all the other 
materials for the Life of St. Hugh are insignificant. 
The Vita Sti. Hugonis by Giraldus Cambrensis is 
valuable as the work of one who knew the Saint well 
and who possessed the literary skill necessary to draw 
a clear and telling portrait in a comparatively limited 
space. A very large portion of the work, however, is 
taken up with the miracles worked at the tomb of the 
Saint, and the sketch seems to have been produced 
with some special reference to the occasion of his 
canonization, much as it is customary even at the 
present day to publish a short account of the life and 

1 Partly collated by Mr. Dimock in the seventh volume of the Works of 
Giraldus Cambrensis. 

2 Described by the Bollandists in their Catalogus Codicum Hagio- 
graphicorum Bruxellensium, vol. i. p. 188. 

3 With regard to a question of chronology already alluded to in this 
Preface, I have to thank Father Poncelet, the Bollandist, for examining 
for me the reading of the Brussels codex. Unfortunately that manuscript 
lacks one leaf, which turns out to contain the very sentence most 
wanted ; but in another detail the substitution of the word annos for dies, 
referred to below, p. 72, note, the Brussels manuscript supports the 
Carthusian chronology as against Mr. Dimock. Indeed there can be no 
possible doubt that in this matter the English editor is in error. 

i 'KEF ACE. 

miracles of any new Beato. 1 The character sketch 
introduced by Giraldus into his Lives of the Bishops 
of Lincoln in the form of a comparison and contrast 
between St. Hugh and Baldwin, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, is almost more valuable than anything else which 
the Welsh Archdeacon has told us of his friend. It is 
interesting to learn from so thoroughly competent a 
judge that while Baldwin was affatim literatus, a well- 
educated man, 2 Hugh was litcmtissimus, a born scholar ; 
after which Giraldus goes on : " The Archbishop was 
slow and sparing of speech, Bishop Hugh a pleasant 
companion full of talk and fun ; the one was gloomy and 
timid, the other bright and cheerful of heart, as if his 
mind were free from cares. The one was a Diogenes, 
the other a Democritus. The one was slow and self- 
restrained in his anger as in all other things, the other 
could easily be roused even upon a small occasion. The 
Archbishop was smooth-spoken, lukewarm, and easy- 
going, Hugh on the other hand was brusque, full of 
enthusiasm, and a strict disciplinarian." 3 

All this quite fits in with what we are told rather 
more in detail in the Magna Vita, as also does the 
statement made by Giraldus that St. Hugh was rather 
too rigid and uncompromising when first he entered 
upon the administration of his diocese, but that after- 
wards he mellowed, and while continuing to treat 
himself as rigorously as ever, made all possible allow- 
ances for the less spiritual ideas of his fellow-bishops 
and his clergy, not holding himself aloof, but conde- 
scending to their weakness. 

Cf. p. 571, below. 

* This testimony is the more remarkable when we note that Bishop 
Stubbs describes Baldwin as " one of the most distinguished scholars of his 
lime." It does not seem to me, however, that the statement of Walter 
Map, to which he refers, warrants so high an eulogy. 

1 This is very much in accordance with the account of Archbishop 
Baldwin given in the revelations of the monk of Eynsham. 

PREFACE. xvii 

Beside the Life by Giraldus, there are other almost 
contemporary accounts of the Saint preserved in the 
Vita Metrica 1 and the Legenda. The Metrical Life 
seems to be based upon Giraldus and, apart from the 
poetical amplifications of the writer, contains nothing 
fresh except an interesting description of the new 
Cathedral of Lincoln. This elaborate piece of versifi- 
cation, which from a literary point of view is by no 
means contemptible, seems to have been composed 
shortly after the canonization in 1220. The author is 

The Legenda was probably intended primarily to be 
used for the lessons of the Divine Office. 2 It exists in 
slightly varying forms in several different MSS., but 
as in the Life by Giraldus, the accounts of miracles 
seem to occupy a wholly disproportionate amount of 
space as compared with the facts of the Saint's history. 
By a curious process of confusion and misapprehension, 
of which I have given some account in a footnote on 
p. 569, a portion of this document has come to be cited 
in the pages of the French Vie de St. Hugues? as a 

1 The Vita Metrica, a poem of rather more than a thousand hexameter 
verses, was edited by Dimock with an admirable Introduction and notes 
in 1 86 1. The Legenda may be found in the Works of Giraldus Cambrensis, 
Rolls Series, vol. vii. 

2 In a fourteenth century Sarum Breviary, which formerly belonged to 
the Augustinian Bonhommes at Asheridge (Bucks), and is now preserved at 
Stony hurst College, may be found the lessons as actually read both on 
St. Hugh's principal feast and on that of his translation. They consist of 
very minute sections taken from the document which I have called the 
Legenda, but, as far as they go, they adhere closely to the text. (See below, 
Appendix M, p. 622.) My thanks are due to the Rector of Stonyhurst 
College for his kindness in allowing this valuable MS. to be sent to me in 

3 P- 53> an d Preface, p. xiv. It would be easy to make a long list of 
authors, ancient and modern, who have dealt more or less ex professo with 
the history of St. Hugh. Some of these, like Dorlandus, Surius, and 
Maurocurtius, may be found cited in Mr. Dimock's Prefaces. Others, like the 
paper in Mr. J. A. Froude's Short Studies of Great Subjects, are merely hastily 



fragment of an otherwise unknown Life of the Saint 
by a certain Stephen tic Longothona, 1 Archdeacon of 
Lincoln. Both book and author are alike apocryphal. 

The only new manuscript authority which has been 
of any use to me in preparing the present Life is 
Cotton Roll, xiii. 27, for a knowledge of which I am 
indebted to Mr. Bickley of the Manuscript Room of 
the British Museum. It contains a relatively complete 
copy of the Report of the Papal Commissioners appointed 
to investigate the miracles submitted for canonization. 
Another but imperfect copy of the same Report, differing 
somewhat in arrangement, is preserved in Harleian 
MS. 526. I have made considerable use of the Cotton 
Roll in the chapter on the miracles and canonization 
of St. Hugh. 

Among modern contributions to the history of 
St. Hugh's doings in England, I must confess especial 
obligations to some notes by Mr. E. H. Bates in 
Somersetshire Notes and Queries for March, 1897. The 
valuable information there given concerning the eviction 

written magazine articles. There is a good summary of the most striking 
features of the Life given in two articles by Mr. J. Walton, now Mr. J. 
Walton, Q.C., in The Month, 1872-3, and the book called Cloister Life in 
thf days of Richard Coeur de Lion, by Dean Spence, may be cited as a 
sympathetic sketch of his career from an Anglican stand-point. There is 
even an Anglican work of fiction, Forest Outlaws, in which St. Hugh of 
Lincoln is made to play a principal part. So far as I have seen, however, 
none of these various accounts add anything to the facts of the Life 
otherwise known to us. It is curious that even amongst Carthusian writers 
much confusion formerly prevailed. In MS. Addit. 17,085, at the British 
Museum, is preserved a Chronicle drawn up by Dom F. G. Schwengel, 
Prior of the Charterhouse near Dantzig. The section devoted to England 
adds nothing to our materials, but contains many errors. The date, 
however, of St. Hugh's coming to England seems to be correctly assigned 
to 1180. (MS. Addit. 17,085, pp. 336. 237.) 

1 A the reader may easily guess, Stephen de Longothona is only a 
corruption of the name Stephen Langton. Archbishop Langton, as 
president of the canonization inquiry, seems to have been credited with the 
authorship of the report partly incorporated in the Legtnda. 


of the residents of Witham on the arrival of the 
Carthusians, came to m,y knowledge too late to be 
made available in its proper place. A summary of it, 
however, will be found in Appendix A, p. 599. l 

The late Archdeacon Perry's Life of St. Hugh of 
Avalon, has a claim to be mentioned here as the only 
English Life of the Saint previously in existence. That 
the author had a genuine admiration for St. Hugh, and 
has produced a spirited account of many incidents in 
his career, may be readily admitted. None the less, 
Archdeacon Perry was absolutely out of sympathy with 
the religious life of the middle ages, and his unceasing 
misrepresentations of and carpings against a system, 
which the vast majority of those who claim the name of 
Christian still hold sacred, make his work, in the opinion 
of the present writer at least, very exasperating reading. 
It has often been hard to resist the temptation of com- 
menting upon his various utterances, but I have wished 
to avoid giving an unnecessarily controversial tone to 
this volume, and for the most part I have refrained. 2 

Of a very different character from Archdeacon Perry's 
work are the various prefaces and articles in which 
Mr. Dimock has discussed the history of the great 
Bishop of Lincoln, and of the Cathedral which is his 
monument. No one has done so much as Mr. Dimock 
to make St. Hugh better known to the nation for whose 
forefathers he came to labour, and it is a pleasure to bear 

1 Here again a more minute knowledge of the facts fully bears out the 
general accuracy of Abbot Adam's account in the Magna Vita. 

2 Some of Archdeacon Perry's statements have been noticed on pages 
37, 42, 44, 189, and 320, and I am glad to be able to state that in his recently 
published volume on Lincoln in the Diocesan Histories Series, he with- 
drew the assertion complained of in the note on p. 189, about St. Hugh's 
supposed dispensation from fasting to those who celebrated a late Massi 
It need hardly be said that in speaking as I have done in the pages which 
follow of Canon, rather than Archdeacon, Perry, I was writing in ignorance 
of his promotion to the higher dignity. 


witness that this excellent scholar's criticism is generally 
accurate, well-informed, and moderate in tone. His 
remarks upon the trustworthiness of the Abbot Adam 
of Eynsham have already been cited, and now I propose 
to quote a somewhat lengthy extract from the same 
Preface to the Magna Vita in commendation of the 
Saint himself. The eloquent and impressive words of 
this Anglican clergyman will perhaps come home with 
more force than any eulogy of a Catholic writer, who 
necessarily accepts the Pope's Bull of Canonization as 
a guarantee of heroic virtue. It is thus that Mr. Dimock 
portrays the character of the great Burgundian Bishop 
of Lincoln. 1 

" I must not attempt to trace his career as Bishop 
of Lincoln : to do it, however briefly, would extend this 
Preface beyond all reasonable limits. It must suffice 
to say what not only this Life, but every contemporary 
mention of his doing as a Bishop helps to prove that 
a more self-denying, earnest, energetic, and fearless 

1 Even Mr. Dimock does not escape all pitfalls. Witness the following 
footnote, which, it is only fair to say, occurs in the earliest of his contribu- 
tions to the history of our Saint the Preface to the Metrical Life. ' ' Some 
of his jokes were not always in the most accurate episcopal good taste, 
according to our more refined notions. His slapping the face, for instance, 
of the aged candidate for Confirmation (as related infra, lines 760764), 
requires much memory of the then rudeness of manners, before we can at 
all reconcile our minds to such an antic of a Bishop, and such a Bishop, 
on such an occasion." Mr. Dimock is evidently unaware that the alapa or 
buffet forms part of the ordinary rite of Confirmation, and is intended to 
be symbolical of the endurance which is to be expected of a soldier of 
Christ. It is closely parallel to the blow which, as the Pontificate directs, 
in the Benedict tmvi militis, is to be given to the candidate for knight- 
hood, with the words, Exciteris a somno militice, &c. The striking of the 
knight with a sword has no doubt a similar signification. (The story in 
question will be found on p. 191. Cf. Giraldus. Opera, vii. p. 05, Vita 
:<a > M. 735765-) No doubt St. Hugh thought it desirable that this 
exceptionally ignorant and obstinate rustic should not interpret his act as a 
mere playful caress. I am informed that among the negroes, Bishops often 
find it necessary to administer this slap with n certain amount of vigour, if 
they wish the rite to be treated seriously by the recipient of the sacrament. 


Bishop has seldom, if ever, ruled the diocese of Lincoln, 
or any other diocese whatever. He brought with him 
all his Carthusian simple devotedness to God's service, 
all the ' Carthusian contempt for the things of this 
world. Nowhere, perhaps, but in a Carthusian cell, 
could such a man as Hugh of Lincoln have been 
formed. He seems to stand alone amongst the bishops 
of his day, all of whom, more or less, were creatures of 
the Court ; good and holy men, it may be, but men 
of policy and expediency, not the men to cope with the 
rough self-willed warrior nobles, who could endure no 
opposition to their tyranny over all below them not 
the men to withstand such monarchs as Henry II. and 
Richard I. in their determined encroachments on the 
rights of the Church. Hugh was that rare man, who 
was a match, and more than a match for them all. 
Once sure of the straight path of duty, no earthly 
influence, or fear, or power, could stop him : he never 
bated an inch even to such opponents ; and while 
fighting and beating them, still, all the while, won and 
retained their admiration and reverence. To a stern 
determination of purpose, a reckless fearlessness of 
consequences, he united, in rare combination, a cool 
and excellent judgment, and a clever, ready tact. 
Always clearly seeing and steadily pursuing the best 
and wisest course of action, no one ever could more 
cleverly do and say the right thing, at the right time, 
in the right way. As Bishop of Lincoln, moreover, he 
was no such sour ascetic as we might perhaps imagine 
from his Carthusian training. Giraldus Cambrensis, 
who spent some three years at Lincoln during Hugh's 
pontificate, and must have seen and known much of 
him, describes him, though harsh and hot-tempered and 
rigid, yet full of talk and joyousness and fun ; and there 
is much in the present Life, and elsewhere, that proves 
this portrait of him to be no unfaithful one. These 




1186 1189. 


Chap I. St. Hugh is appointed Bishop of Lincoln . 127 

II. Consecration and Enthronement . 135 

III. The Swan of St. Hugh . . 141 

IV. The Bishop and his Clergy . 148 
Note on the Lincoln Canons and Ceremonial . 158 

V. The Affair of the Grand Forester . 162 

VI. The Cathedral of Lincoln . . 171 

Note on the Architecture of Lincoln Cathedral . 182 

VII. His Episcopal Ministry . . .187 

,, VIII. The Friend of Little Children and Lepers . 195 

Note on the Lazar-House of the Holy Innocents 

at Lincoln ..... 203 

IX. His charity for the dead .... 206 
Note on post-mortem absolutions and " absolution 

crosses "..... 216 

,, X. A Carthusian Bishop .... 220 

Note on St. Hugh's regard for Church ceremonial 233 

XI. His Retreats at Witham . -237 

XII. Preparations for the Third Crusade. Death of 

King Henry II. . . . . 248 

Note on Henry II. in the Prophecy of Merlin . 254 



Chap. I. Richard I. of England . .259 

II. Troubles in England . . 2 6g 

Note on the alleged murder of Children by 
the Jews, and on St. Hugh's relations with 
William Longchamp . . 385 

III. The first Conflicts between the Bishop and the 

King . 2QO 

Note on St. Hugh and the Abbey of 31. Albans . 298 



Chap. IV. The Justice of the Bishop and the Justice of God 303 

Note on the grievance of Giraldus Cambrensis, 

and on " Perpetual Vicars " . . . 314 
V. Delegate of the Holy See . . 328 
Note on Professor Maitland and Papal delega- 
tions in England .... 337 
,, VI. The Euchapstic Visions of St. Hugh . . 340 
Note on the Visions of the Monk of Eynsham . 348 
,, VII. The King is conquered by the Bishop . . 357 
Note on the constitutional importance of St. 

Hugh's Resistance .... 370 

VIII. Pope Innocent III. . . 374 

IX. The Affair of the Canons of Lincoln . . 386 

Note on Saints as Landowners . . . 397 

,, X. The cure of many Possessed Persons . . 399 

Note on St. Hugh's attitude towards the 

miraculous ..... 405 

,, XI. Providential consolations .... 410 
Note on St. Hugh's theory of the Rights of 

Sanctuary ..... 420 

XII. Death of Richard I. . . 425 


1199 I2OO. 

Chap. I. The beginning of the Reign of King John . 441 
,, II. The Peace of Les Andelys. St. Hugh's journey 

to France ..... 453 

Note on St. Hugh and the University of Oxford . 464 

,, III. The Bishop of Lincoln at the Grande Chartreuse 467 
Note on St. Anthony's Fire and the sufferers 

cured of it . . . . . 478 

,, IV. From the Grande Chartreuse to Cluny . . 484 

V. From Cluny to London . . . . 495 

Note on the miracle of the Bleeding Loaves . 505 

,, VI. His last illness . . . . .11 


Chap VII The Death of St. Ihih 524 

c on the London Residence of the Bishops 

of Lincoln 534 

,. VIII The Funeral of St. Hugh 54 

Note on the Site of St. Hugh's Tomb . . 555 

IX. Canonization of St. Hugh . 55 8 
Note on Miracles . *- 574 

X. Translation of the relics of St. Hugh. The 

Charterhouse of St. Hugh at Parkminster . 579 
Note on St. Hugh's translation, and the narrative 

preserved of it . . . 59 

Appendix A. 


., F. 

'.' J 

., L. 

,, N. 



The Coming of the Carthusians to Witham 
Profession of Obedience to the Archbishop 

Canterbury. Seals 
St. Hugh's Enthronement at Lincoln 
Brother Gerard of Nevers 
Henry II. 's Benefactions to Religious Orders 
The Jews . 
William de Monte and the Lincoln Schools 

St. Hugh and the Lepers 

St. Hugh's dealings with Women 

St. Hugh and the Party of Prince John . 

St. Hugh's Grants of Churches . 

The Vision of the Monk of Eynsham . 

The Liturgical Memorials of St. Hugh . 

St. Hugh in Art . 

Walter Map and St. Peter of Tarentaise 







1140 1186. 



NEAR the borders of Dauphin^ and Savoy, the lovely 
and fertile valley of Graisivaudan opens out and then 
narrows again, enclosing the townships of Pontcharra 
and Saint-Maximin, and offering to the spectator the 
most charming of landscape pictures. Whether he 
follows the course of the beautiful River Isere, or 
climbs the mountain slopes clothed with rich vineyards 
and rising gradually in terraces as they lead him to 
the heights above, he will meet everywhere with a 
succession of charming views, varying from moment to 
moment, but always nobly framed in a background of 
gigantic rocks and snowy summits belonging to the 
distant Alps. 

To the interest of this beautiful situation is added 
that of its historical memories, for the ruins, which 
stand up here and there, in the midst of the smiling 
vegetation, carry the mind back to ages long passed 
away. Especially are to be remarked the remains of two 
castles, once the cradles of two heroes, who, separated 
from each other by an interval of three centuries, were 
both equally, though in different ways, the pride and 
glory of their country. The one displayed a courage 
in the service of the Church, no less admirable thaii 
that of the other in the defence of France. If one of 
them is justly admired as " the knight without fear and 
without reproach," the other, as his life will bear 
witness, may as justly be called " the bishop without 


fear and without reproach." The Chevalier Bayard 
may perhaps be better known in profane history, which 
deals by preference with warlike exploits ; but the name 
of Hugh of Avalon shines with greater lustre in the 
history of the Church, and it is surrounded also by 
that incomparable halo of glory which belongs only to 
servants of God, raised upon our altars for the venera- 
tion of the whole Catholic world. 

The Castle of Avalon, 1 in which the first years of 
our Saint's life were passed, belonged, at the beginning 
of the twelfth century, to a family whose coat of arms 
gave testimony to their ancient lineage. According to 
Chorier, 2 it bore " upon a field, or, the Imperial eagle, 
sable. Such a scutcheon could belong to no family of 
ignoble origin." The land over which they held sway 
was relatively speaking of vast extent, and possibly 
included several other feudal castles, if we may so 
interpret the expressions of Hugh's contemporary 
biographer, 3 and also those of the Commissioners of 
the Dauphin, sent in 1339, to make a valuation of the 
possessions and revenues of the commandery (mande- 
mtnt) of Avalon. 4 

St. Hugh was born in the year ii4o; 5 he was 

1 The Castle of Avalon is situated upon territory now belonging to the 
commune of Saint-Maximin ; the Castle of Bayard upon that of the 
commune of Pontcharra. This Avalon in Isere is to be carefully distin- 
guished from Avallon, a considerable township in the department of Yonne. 

Chorier, Histoire Gintralt de Dauphine, ii. 74. 

Magna Vita S. H., bk. i. ch. i : Suis castellis et terris. Bk. v. oh. 14 : 
No* modicam dominationem. 

* Cf. Crozet, Description Topographiquc, &c. t dcs Cantons formant 
U Dtpartement <U I' hire. Canton de Goncelin, pp. 9 and 10. 

he date here assigned for the birth of St. Hugh is founded upon a 

cnpt of the Max** Vita unknown to Mr. Uimock, but formerly 

* possession of Dora Lc Couteulx, the chronicler of the Carthusian 

Mft It has not been thought worth while to reproduce in our trans- 

Ihe Appendix which in the original Life is devoted to this point of 



the son of William of Avalon, and of Anna, his 
wife. Two other sons, William and Peter, had 
already been the previous fruit of this union. The 
name which he received in Baptism was then very 
common, but it had been quite recently rendered 
glorious by St. Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble. This 
generous friend of St. Bruno, and protector of his 
newly-founded Order of Carthusians, had died on the 
ist of April, 1132, venerated by all in his diocese, after 
fifty-two years of an episcopate as fruitful in good 
works as it had been in trials. Only two years after 
his death he had been canonized by Pope Innocent II., 
who thus sanctioned the popular veneration which his 
holiness and his miracles had evoked. The Bishop of 
Lincoln loved in after years to extol the virtues of his 
patron, and especially his angelic purity. We do not 
doubt that the protection of St. Hugh of Grenoble 
aided our St. Hugh to preserve his baptismal robe 
of innocence unsullied. 

His parents were worthy of the sacred charge 
confided to them, shielding his tender soul from evil 
and training it in conformity with the exalted destiny 
for which Divine Providence was preparing it. To 
the nobility of their birth they united a nobility 
of virtue, uncommon at that epoch, and inspired 
by a lively and ardent faith. William of Avalon 
was a man of deeply religious feelings and chivalrous 
character. In his early years he had thought of 
giving up the world to enter a monastery, and he 
had never ceased to regret the higher life and to 
long after it secretly amid the obstacles by which cir- 
cumstances had surrounded him. The stirring life of a 
camp had not robbed him of his earnest desire for per- 
fection, and he kept his flesh in subjection by chains of 
iron worn under his clothes and by continual fasts. 1 
1 Giraldus Cambrensis, Vita S. Hugonis, dis. i. ch. i. 


Although he was a brave soldier, a man noted for 
his . among the champions of his time, yet 

his amiable qualities gained the affection of all who 
came in contact with him, and the pleasure of his 
society was eagerly competed for. Every one admired 
the charming modesty which added lustre to his brave 
deeds, the gentleness and courtesy which tempered 
his courage, and the kindness and affability which 
won all hearts, especially the hearts of his comrades 
in arms. What was not so generally known was the 
secret and ceaseless labour by which he had acquired 
this gentle ascendency.. The piety which is " profitable 
for all things " had in him wrought one of its master- 
pieces, and becoming in turn the heritage of his son, 
moulded him to the likeness of his father, yielding 
generous interest upon the capital thus transmitted. 

And if the lord of Avalon might in this way be looked 
upon as a "flower of chivalry" flos militia, 1 his wife 
Anna was " the glory of the ladies of her time "- 
matronale decus. 2 Between these two noble souls there 
reigned a perfect unity of thought and feeling. The 
great lady of the castle, brimming over with gentleness 
and sympathy, devoted herself to the exercise of 
Christian charity in all that was most meritorious and 
painful to nature. She was ever ready to hasten to the 
assistance and consolation of the poor ; she even tended 
the lepers and washed their feet, fearless of infection 
either for herself or her children. How St. Hugh 
profited by his mother's noble example we shall see 
later on. It was her Divine Saviour whom Anna thus 
venerated in His suffering members, and whom she 
trained her sons to see and to serve unfalteringly in 
every action of life. We have no doubt that her chief 
maxim of education was that expressed in the words of 
the holy Blanche of Castille to her son, St. Louis : 
1 *''' r. 45. 3 Ibid. v. 46. 


11 My son, I would rather see you dead before me than 
see you commit a mortal sin." 1 

We may be quite sure that phrases such as these 
often found a place in the instructions of the parents of 
St. Hugh, and the proof of it is to be found not only in 
the heroism which he displayed, but in the words and 
actions of his brothers, who shared the same instruc- 
tion, and never failed in after-life to encourage him in 
his resistance to unjust oppression. They often said to 
him that " they would rather he had never been born, 
than that he should falter for one moment in the 
defence of the liberty of the Church." 2 

We need no more exact information to have a very 
good idea of the pure and bracing atmosphere in which 
the little Hugh of Avalon passed his childhood, and in 
which his heart and intellect awakened to life. His 
mother especially took a tender interest in watching for 
the first signs of Divine grace in this child of hers, 
already consecrated to God by his Baptism ; and so 
deeply convinced was she of the teaching of faith with 
regard to the dignity of a Christian, that she deserves 
to have applied to her the eulogium which St. John 
Chrysostom wrote of her namesake, the mother of 
Samuel. " Anna," says the holy Doctor, " did not look 
upon Samuel simply as her own child, but as a being 
consecrated to the Lord ; and she watched over him with 
a double affection, the one inspired by nature, the other 
by grace. For my own part, I always think of her as 
penetrated with reverence for her child. And she was 
right in venerating him thus. When we wish to make 
an offering to God of cups or vessels of gold, we are 
very careful not to use them for any other purpose 
while we are keeping them in readiness for the day of 

1 St. Hugh had an interview with Blanche of Castille during his last 
journey to France. See farther on in this volume, bk. iv. ch. 2. 

2 Magna Vita, bk, v. ch. 14. 


tluir consecration: we look upon them as things 
already marked with the seal of holiness, and we 
should not dare to treat them carelessly, as if they 
were ordinary vessels. Such were the feelings of Anna 
with regard to her son, even before she had presented 
him in the temple of God. She loved him more than 
other mothers love their children, and she venerated 
him as already belonging to the Lord : he was for her 
a living principle of holiness, and in truth her house 
was really a temple, for it contained a prophet and a 
priest." 1 

Had the mother of our Saint, like that other Anna, 
made a special consecration of her new-born son to 
God ? Had her husband united with her in the pious 
offering ? We know not, but we may well believe that 
she soon perceived with joy those dispositions of her 
little one, which gave such bright promise for the 
future. And if his consecration at the font of Baptism 
was sufficient to awaken in her the holiest feelings con- 
cerning her child, -we doubt not that she dreamt also of 
another more special consecration, aspiring to train up 
in him a worthy minister for the Church of God. 

However that may be, it is quite certain that a most 
precious vessel of election was fashioned by her loving 
hands, and that she carefully shielded it from every 
profanation which could tarnish its lustre. St. Hugh 
loved in after-years to recall how careful, even to 
severity, had been the precautions taken to guard his 
childish innocence. " Indeed," he said, " I never had 
anything to do with the joys of this world; I never 
learnt any games, and never felt the least wish to do 
so." If his parents thus respected the gravity beyond 
his years which they perceived in him, and did not 
endeavour to overcome the disrelish which he mani- 
fested for the usual amusements of childhood, it was 

1 Discourse upon Anna, the mother of Samuel, 3. 


undoubtedly because they wished to second the designs 
of Providence in calling their son to a high degree of 
sanctity. After the time given to prayer (a time which 
grew longer and longer as the years passed by), after 
the converse with his parents on heavenly things, the 
boy's chief recreation and delight was to serve the 
poor in every work of charity ; and of this he never 

We must not forget, also, that at this time a great 
wave of self-sacrifice and heroism was sweeping over 
the world, and that noble souls were everywhere feeling 
its influence. The memory of the first Crusade was 
still living in the minds of men ; and it still formed the 
subject of a thousand interesting stories which rivetted 
the attention of children as well as of older persons. 
The practical conclusion of all this is easily seen ; it is 
summed up in the shout of the Crusaders, re-echoed 
still every time that conscience calls for a brave 
decision : " It is the will of God." Those Christians 
who were not able to take the Cross were earnestly 
invited to contribute by their prayers and penances 
to the deliverance of the Holy Places. The great 
results at that time obtained, the recovery of the Holy 
Sepulchre, and the foundation of a Latin kingdom in 
Palestine, had not put an end to the struggle against 
the crescent of Mahomet, and the alarming news con- 
stantly arriving from the East was already agitating 
Europe and inspiring St. Bernard with the fiery elo- 
quence which was so soon to call the Christian world 
to a new Crusade. 

The life led by the saintly Abbot of Clairvaux, an4 
by other fervent monks of different Orders, who walked 
with him in the narrow way of self-renunciation, was 
another living voice speaking to the little Hugh in 
accents which found an echo in his own heart. It was 
easy to show him the enormous walls of rock, behind 


which were hidden the solitaries of the Grande Chart- 
reuse, those already famous imitators of the Fathers of 
the Desert, whom St. Bernard had visited with so much 
ration. Without yet attempting to accomplish 
a like pilgrimage, Hugh could study at his leisure 
a priory of Canons Regular, situated quite near his 
father's estate at Villard-Benoit. These good men, 
living under a rule less severe than that of the Car- 
thusians, edified the whole of the surrounding country 
by their piety and good works, and were a special 
attraction to the lord of Avalon. 

But we must also acknowledge that, side by side 
with so much good, many and great evils existed ; and 
although in the domestic sanctuary where the innocence 
of little Hugh found shelter, no bad example was 
allowed to meet his eyes, yet he could not help hearing 
something of the scandals with which then, as now, the 
pious and thoughtful were grieved. However, when 
such knowledge came to his ears, his parents took care 
to inspire him with the deepest horror for those crimes, 
and to point out to him how commonly they met with 
severe punishment sooner or later. One fact of this 
kind remained always engraven on the memory of 
St. Hugh, who loved to relate it, even in the presence 
of distinguished personages. 

When he was a child he was intimately acquainted 
with a merchant, who lived upon one of his father's 
manors. This merchant often went on a journey for 
business purposes connected with his trade, which 
consisted principally in selling the produce of more 
distant provinces. Whenever he was absent on one 
of these excursions, the lord of Avalon was good 
enough to undertake the care of his family ; and when 
the vassal returned, he always hastened to thank his 
for this benevolent work of charity, and to present 
him in return with some rare and valuable gifts. This 


good merchant was of an amiable and generous dis- 
position, and had easily won the affection of his bene- 
factor, who was ready at all times to open his heart to 
those around him. 

On one occasion the news of the merchant's return 
home arrived at the castle, but the merchant himself 
did not appear as usual. This caused the lord of Avalon 
some anxiety, and taking an escort of armed men, he 
repaired without delay to his vassal's dwelling. The 
merchant's wife met him, and, with much apparent 
distress, complained of the sudden departure of her 
husband, who, she said, had only remained one night 
at home, and had then gone off on a new expedition, 
telling her that he did not know when he should be able 
to return. 

The knight hesitated for a few moments, but as 
he saw no reason to doubt the truth of the story, he 
prepared to return to the castle with his men-at-arms. 
Instantly the merchant's faithful dog crept up to his 
feet, and made many strange signs to attract attention, 
crying piteously all the while, till at last the good 
knight followed the dog, who led the way to a recently 
ploughed field. There the faithful animal began to 
scratch vigorously in one of the furrows : the knight's 
followers assisted him, at the command of their master, 
and, to the horror of all, the dead body of the unfor- 
tunate merchant at last appeared. He had been 
strangled by his own wife, assisted in the terrible deed 
by an infamous lover, to whom the wretched woman 
had transferred the allegiance due to her husband. The 
crime thus discovered was soon proved, and both 
criminals met with the punishment they deserved. 

Thus the education of the little Hugh went on, 
through all these various events of general or local 
interest, from which his parents drew morals for 
his instruction, until the time came for him to com- 


mence his real studies. According to the custom of days, a child about the age of seven years was 
placed in the hands of a tutor or sent to a school, and 
from that time began to receive regular lessons. There 
is a circumstance which occurred towards the close of 
St. Hugh's life, which will help us to understand the 
importance that was then attached to this first initia- 
tion into the mysteries of human learning. 

The chaplain who writes the biography of the holy 
Bishop of Lincoln tells us very precisely, in the course 
of his narrative, how he had the honour of giving a first 
lesson to one of the nephews of the prelate. It was done 
with the greatest solemnity. The pupil, who was just 
seven years old, and whose name was John, had accom- 
panied his uncle to Belley. And it was in the Cathedral 
of that town, and upon the altar dedicated to St. John 
the Baptist, that the book was spread out, from which 
the little child was to learn his alphabet, and with this 
solemn ceremony he received his first lesson. 1 

In those ages of faith, the cultivation of the mind was 
highly esteemed, but the way of showing this esteem 
was to lay the foundations of the spiritual and mental 
edifice through a solemn invocation of the Father of 
Light, whom to know and to love constitutes the highest 
wisdom. Certainly the studies of the young Hugh were 
well penetrated with this precious leaven, and far from 
hindering his progress, the religious character of his 
early instruction did but ripen his natural talents and 
lead him on with giant strides. An application and 
attention, far superior to his years, were at once 
remarked in him, and also a keenness of intellect 
which rapidly seized upon the meaning of everything, 
with a great facility for assimilating the instruction he 
received. Already he began to reap the fruits of his 
distaste for worldly amusements. His soul, detached 

1 Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 14, 


from that which Holy Scripture calls the " fascination 
of trifles," 1 soared joyfully towards all that could 
elevate and enlighten it. God was preparing him in 
this way to understand the terrible but salutary lesson 
which death was so soon to give him. He was only 
eight years old when his mother died ; and the impres- 
sion he then received was so deep, that from that time 
his heart was closed for ever to earthly joys and stead- 
fastly turned towards the things of Heaven. 

His father remained to him, but that father, far 
from wishing to dispute with the influence of grace in 
his young heart, was inspired to guide the son's steps 
towards the religious life, and accomplished this design 
with the most admirable delicacy. Helped no doubt 
by the intercession of the beloved and noble wife whom 
God had taken from him, he resolved to carry out his 
former wish of consecrating himself to God, and of 
uniting his youngest son with him in this great action. 
He soon declared these intentions by a division of all 
his possessions. He assigned to each of his elder sons, 
William and Peter, the portion belonging to them, and 
then announced that Hugh's share was to be given over 
to the Canons Regular of Villard-Benoit, and that he 
himself would retire to that pious refuge, accompanied 
by his youngest and dearest. He had no difficulty 
in persuading Hugh to agree to this project. His own 
example was only a confirmation of all his previous 
instructions, and was a fitting conclusion to the educa- 
tion which his son had always received from him. In 
after-years, Hugh, speaking of this event, tells us of the 
great sacrifice his father made when he entered the 
monastery : " My father gave up all that he had in the 
world," he says, " to enter the army of Jesus Christ, 
and feared not to become suddenly a young soldier in 
the heavenly camp, after having been a veteran among 
1 Wisdom iv. 12. 


the soKlirrs of earth. He might have rested from his 
labours with honour and glory, like other knights of his 
ami fame; but lie had no wish for rest. He pre- 
1 to labour for his Lord and Master here as long 
as his strength lasted, and to wait for his rest in the 
Kingdom of Hi-avm. Therefore he took the religious 
habit he who had long been animated by the religious 
spirit and as he had never ceased to regret that he 
had not quitted the world as soon as he entered it, he 
was resolved that I, at least, should have that happi- 
ness : and I needed no persuasion to renounce pleasures 
of which I knew nothing, and to follow him as a fellow- 
soldier in the spiritual army." 1 

Hugh, it is plain enough, was quite capable, in 
spite of his tender years, of understanding the ad- 
vantages of the religious life he was going to embrace, 
even if he was not able perfectly to comprehend all that 
he was renouncing. He gave a full consent to the 
wishes and advice of his father. 

There are some who may be astonished at this 
proceeding of the lord of Avalon, and who may be 
inclined to accuse him of having violated his son's 
liberty of conscience; but if they will only reflect a 
little, they will see that such an accusation is quite 
groundless. What would they say if they heard that 
lather of little Hugh had devoted his son, from his 
earliest years, to a military life, and had placed him as 
a page at the court of some knightly prince ? Certainly 
they would have no reproach for the father in such a 
case. Why, therefore, should they not admit that the 
father had every right to act in the same way when it 
was a question not of earthly armies or the service 
of an earthly king but of the monastic life and the 
service of the King of kings ? Looked at from this 
point of inch is the only right way of looking 

1 Magna Vita, bk. i. ch. i. 


at it, and was exactly the light in which it appeared to 
William of Avalon and his contemporaries we are 
forced to acknowledge that a religious vocation is the 
greatest honour a father can desire for his children, and 
that although he may not force it upon them against 
their inclination, yet he must not attempt to dissuade 
them from it, or fail to give them the most sincere and 
effectual encouragement, as soon as he perceives that 
such a vocation is the will of God for them. . 

When the time came for the call of God to be 
obeyed, Hugh and his father left the Castle of Avalon 
and took their way to the Priory of Villard-Benoit, 
where the good Canons were waiting to welcome their 
two new Brothers, not indeed without emotion, for it 
must have been a touching sight. The father and son 
approached their new home together ; the one, his 
youth renewed by the heroic sacrifice he was making ; 
the other, young in years, but bearing already on his 
childish brow the shining halo of advanced and heavenly 
wisdom ; both united to each other, less by the ties of 
blood than by those of a Divine charity, both of them 
glad not to be separated in the farewell they were 
bidding to the world, and both ready to fight the good 
fight, and walk bravely in the way of perfection. 


" THERE is a church, situated upon lands in possession 
of the city of Grenoble, which is served by a small 
community of priests belonging to the Order of Canons 
Regular, seven in number. This sanctuary, with its 
inhabitants, is supported by the Mother Church and 
Cathedral of Grenoble, where is to be found another 
community of the same Order. My father had always 
a special affection for this Priory, which was situated 
on the borders of his estate ; and as a devoted son, he 
honoured the Mother Church, of which it was the off- 

It is thus that Villard-Benoit is described to us by 
St. Hugh himself. Without attempting to solve the 
historical problems suggested by these few words, and 
without examining in detail into the origin of the 
Canons Regular and their Rule, we will content our- 
selves with stating that this Order owed its existence 
to the inspiration of St. Chrodegang, Bishop of Metz, 
and its development to St. Peter Damian, Blessed Ivo 
of Chartres, and St. Norbert, through whose means in 
course of time it was honoured with the approval of 
several successive Popes. Its aim was to effect the 
reformation of the clergy, by beginning with the most 
distinguished order of clerics after the Bishops, that is 
to say, with the Canons. In the beginning of the 
twelfth century, a general effort was made to attain this 
desirable end, and communities of Canons Regular, 


who followed the Rule of St. Augustine, were established 
in many dioceses, some of which, notably the Canons of 
St. Victor, and still more the Premonstratensians, the 
sons of St. Norbert, rapidly developed into flourishing 
Religious Orders. 

St. Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble, had been well 
acquainted with this work of reformation, which re- 
sponded to his most ardent desires. He introduced 
community life amongst the Canons of his Cathedral 
Chapter ; but it was his successor, also called Hugh, 1 
and a Religious of the Grande Chartreuse, who com- 
pleted the transformation, and it was finally approved 
by a Bull of Pope Innocent II., dated from Pisa, on 
the 3ist of May, 1136. 

The Canons of Villard-Benoit became, like those of 
the Cathedral of Grenoble, to whom they were affiliated, 
models of religious fervour, all of them animated by the 
desire of exalting the dignity of the priesthood by their 
pious lives. At the time when William of Avalon and 
his young son came amongst them, they were still in 
their first fervour, and practised the Rule with that 
fidelity which usually distinguishes a new community. 
And as a recompense for their efforts after sanctity, and 
also as a further stimulus thereto, Divine Providence 
allowed them to be the spectators of the dawn of a 
Saint's life such a wonderful and enchanting sight, 
that we can only form some idea of it by reflecting on 
those words of the Gospel, spoken of the Holiest of all : 
"And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and age, and grace 
with God and men." 2 

Shortly after his arrival at Villard-Benoit, the little 
became the chief actor in a touching ceremony. 

1 For fuller details with regard to this prelate, who afterwards became 
Archbishop of Vienne, see the Notice published at the end of the Life of 
St. Hugh of Grenoble, by M. Albert de Boys. 

2 St. Luke ii. 52. 


His father, in consecrating himself to God, made a 
solemn offering of his child also to the community at 
the same time. \\V draw, from a mediaeval custumary, 
a description of this ceremony, which always took place 
during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The child 
n<> vice, after having his hair cut away in the manner 
of a monk's tonsure, carried in his hands an un- 
consecrated host, and a chalice containing wine. At 
the end of the Gospel, his parents offered him to the 
celebrating priest. They covered the hand of their son 
with the altar-cloth, and the Abbot or Prior clasped the 
little palm in his own. The parents then solemnly 
promised that they would never do or say anything 
which might induce him to leave the Order, and that 
they would never make him any gift which might 
endanger his vocation. This promise was then written 
down, signed in the presence of witnesses, and after- 
wards laid on the altar. The Superior clothed the child 
in the religious habit, and, the earthly sacrifice thus 
terminated, the Mass was proceeded with. The Canons 
of Villard-Benoit were dressed in a white cassock and 
surplice ; over this was worn a black cope in winter, 
and the almuce or fur cape in summer. 

Among the Canons who were present at this oblation 
of the little novice, was one more observant and more 
deeply moved than any of the others. This was the 
venerable Religious who was to be entrusted with the 
care and monastic instruction of the young Hugh, and 
whose duty it would be to prepare him for the vows 
which he was not allowed to pronounce before the age 
of fourteen. The pupil himself shall paint for us the 
portrait of his master, and give us an idea of the firm 
and yet tender affection which was thenceforth the 
guide of his early religious life. " There was one of 

M Canons," says St. Hugh, " distinguished above 
all the rest by his virtue and learning. The gentlemen 


of the neighbourhood confided their sons to him, that 
they might be directed in secular and religious studies, 
and be trained up by his care in habits of virtue. He was 
untiring in his efforts to inspire me with a taste for the 
study of the Holy Scriptures and of theology, above all 
other pursuits, even from the very beginning of my 
education. With fatherly caresses and wise counsel 
he endeavoured to kindle in my young heart a love for 
the most solid and exalted doctrine. To withdraw my 
attention from games and other trivialities, he taxed his 
ingenuity to keep me occupied and interested in ever- 
varied studies. And while other children of my own 
age, who were my companions, ran off to their amuse- 
ments, he would speak to me gently and kindly in 
words such as these : ' My own dear son, do not you 
join in the follies of your companions ; let them do as 
they will ; it is right for them ; but their pleasures are 
not the pleasures which belong to your vocation.' And 
then he would add : ' My dear little Hugh, my dear 
little Hugh, it is for Jesus Christ and His service that 
I am educating you ; childish pastimes are not for 
you.'" 1 Thanks to these valuable reminiscences, we 
are at least able to catch a passing glimpse of the 
monastic school of Villard-Benoit, of the venerable 
master, the pupils, the programme of studies, and of 
the profoundly Christian spirit which animated the 

The master belonged to that race of monks who 
united the practices of austere penance and piety with 
assiduous and untiring study, and by so doing rendered 
the greatest service to learning. Perfectly content to 
devote his whole energies to the children entrusted to 
his care, he laboured conscientiously in this noble duty, 
without caring for the brilliant success he might have 

1 " Hugonete, Hugonete ; ego te Christo nutrio ; jocari non est tuum." 
(Magnet. Vita.} 


attained in the world. He was but one of those 
numerous professors who, at this time, were the glory 
and honour of the monasteries in which they dwelt. 
M. de Montalembert tells us that " to the monks almost 
exclusively had men cause to be grateful for the blessings 
of a thorough education from the ninth to the fourteenth 
century, that is to say, during the period of the Church's 
greatest power and grandeur." 1 In this also they were 
only following the traditions of their ancestors, for the 
same might have been said of the solitaries of the 
desert, as St. John Chrysostom eloquently pleads, in 
his defence of the monastic life, already, even in those 
days, so misunderstood and calumniated.- 

The pupils who attended the monastery schools 
were divided into two classes. There were, first, the 
novices, or such children as were consecrated to God, 
and destined for the religious life ; and secondly, the lay 
scholars, who were afterwards to return to the world. 
The most distinguished noblemen sent their sons to 
these institutions, and even children of the blood royal 
were often educated in this manner those amongst 
them, for instance, who were in after life Kings of 
France, and are known to history as Robert the Pious, 
and Louis the Fat. If the mingling of the two 
classes of students was very advantageous to the lay 
scholars, it was certainly not without its dangers for 
the young Religious; and at the Council of Aix-la- 
Chapelle, held in 817, a decision was adopted against 
this custom. But the attraction felt for these monastery 
schools was too powerful for such a prohibition to be 
of much use, and the monks contented themselves with 
taking the precautions which, as we have already seen, 
were customary at Villard-Benoit. Our little Canon 
associated with his lay companions to a certain extent, 

i Monks oftht West, vol. vi. bk. xviii. c. iii. 
ohn Chrysostom, Advcnus oppugnatores Vita Monastics, i. 3, 


and as far as was necessary, but his master was espe- 
cially careful to separate him from them during the 
time of recreation. The noisy amusements, which were 
quite fitting for future knights and courtiers, were not 
at all suitable for young novices. Hugh, as we know, 
had never any particular attraction for games, and 
consequently it was no difficulty to him to obey the 
wise, though austere, commands of his good master, 
who, besides, spared no pains in procuring him such 
recreation as was in accordance with the life of a 
cloister. Manual labour, as light and as varied as 
possible, friendly conversation, and pleasant walks, 
afforded sufficient interest and relaxation, and they 
took the place in his case of other more worldly amuse- 

But for young Hugh study itself was the most 
delightful of pastimes. The course of studies pursued 
in the monastery schools was much fuller and more 
varied than might at first sight be supposed, and to 
intelligent souls it offered food that was both solid and 
attractive. To convince ourselves of this, we need only 
peruse the Ratio Siudiorum of this period (Emditionis 
didascalicce libri septem), a work composed by a celebrated 
Canon Regular, Hugh of Saint-Victor, who died in 
1142. We do not know if at Villard-Benoit was taught 
the whole Encyclopaedia which is summed up in this 
remarkable work ; but we have no doubt that subjects 
were selected from it which might best form that kind 
of brain which an illustrious thinker has called " well- 
built rather than well-packed." Secular studies were 
not neglected ; on the contrary, they held their place 
beside the sacred and ecclesiastical ones. Neither their 
utility nor their danger was misunderstood, and a wise 
course was steered between the intense eagerness with 
which secular learning was pursued during the period 
of the Renaissance, and that extreme fear of all that 


not distinctly religious, which induced some earnest 
souls to banish heathen authors entirely from Christian 

The practical rule, which the Church has always 
approved, is that which St. Peter Damian explains 
when speaking of the attention paid by St. Gregory VII. 
to the ancient classics. He says : "This is indeed to 
spoil the Egyptians of their choicest treasures, and to 
build with them a tabernacle consecrated to God, when 
we study the heathen poets and philosophers with the 
express object of strengthening and cultivating our 
minds, in order that we may be able to meditate more 
deeply on the Divine mysteries." 1 

Hugh, therefore, was able to read the masterpieces 
of heathen antiquity, all proper precautions being taken 
by his master's watchful care ; but at the same time 
a preference was given to the sublime doctrines of Holy 
Scripture and the Fathers of the Church. This indeed 
was the distinguishing characteristic of his education, 
that it was so profoundly Christian. The spirit of all 
the instruction he received is summed up in those 
beautiful words of his venerable master : Ego te Christo 
nutrio" It is for Jesus Christ I am educating thee." 
To direct every thought and affection, every aspiration 
of the soul, towards the Divine Master ; to raise the 
light of human intellect to the Father of Light ; to 
change each step made in the further enlightenment of 
the understanding into a corresponding advance in the 
discipline of the will ; to bring out the character of the 
ideal Christian, who should be but another Christ ; to 
lift the soul above the worldly knowledge that puffs up, 
to the charity that edifies such were the noble ends 
proposed to the young student, who was never allowed 
to forget that he was also a novice. And if his master 
was incessantly reminding him of this, it was not that 

1 Opusc. xxxii. c. ix. 


he wished him to neglect other studies, but because he 
saw in his dear Hugh the monk rather than the student, 
that is to say, the ideal of a perfect Christian whom he 
was to guide to the heights of sanctity. Whenever he 
had to reprove or correct, even to correct severely, 
he always consoled his little pupil afterwards with the 
same thought. If the child wept, he also wept and 
comforted him with the tenderness of a father. " My 
son," he said, " do not weep, and do not make an old 
man weep." Then he would congratulate the child on 
his happy dispositions, and repeat his favourite saying 
under every variety of form : " It is towards God that 
I am guiding your footsteps ; be quite certain of it, you 
are going to God." 1 

The young Canon was faithful in imbibing this 
spirit, and walked with giant strides in the way of 
perfection. So much progress did he make, in fact, 
that at the age of fifteen 2 he was allowed to take his 
religious vows, and to live from that time with the 
community instead of with the other scholars. It was 
very shortly after this that an opportunity occurred in 
which he was able to manifest the filial tenderness and 
charity with which his heart was already overflowing. 

His father, who had all this time been the happy 
witness of his ever-increasing virtue, was now to reap 
a particular benefit from it. The father was extremely 
old, and bowed down by infirmities ; all the other 
Canons regarded him with a respectful sympathy. The 
Prior, wishing to render him all the assistance and 
comfort he so well deserved, had the kindly idea of 
giving him his own son to be his nurse. So he said con- 
siderately to Hugh : " You cannot give more pleasure to 

"Ad Deum enim desuper te mitto ; et ad Deum ibis sine dubio." 
(Giraldus Cambrensis, Vita S. Hugonis.) 

2 Since the Council of Trent, the vows of Religious cannot be lawfully 
taken before the age of sixteen. 


me and to your other brothers in Religion, than by taking 
the greatest care of your dear father, whom we all revere 
so much. No one else amongst us is more devoted to duty, 
no one is more humble or more skilful than yourself; 
therefore it is to you we confide this important charge." 
Hugh received this command with joy, and gladly 
obeyed the order of his spiritual Father, which assigned 
him a post beside his earthly father, whom he venerated 
and loved with a double love on account of the bonds 
of nature and grace which united them. Henceforth 
his place was by his father's bedside, until the end 
came. The poor old man had every care and attention 
that he could desire. His son scarcely ever left him, 
supporting his feeble footsteps, carrying him when he 
could no longer walk, preparing his food, and even 
feeding him, as age and infirmity increased. And all 
these services were rendered with an affection and 
tenderness which multiplied their value, for in a 
thousand ways the old man was made to feel that he 
was the object of that true love, which is the best of all 
remedies and the greatest of all consolations. 

Hugh's reward was to receive a father's heartfelt 
blessing in return for each service which he rendered, 
and it was in this school of charity that he learnt much 
of that exceeding tenderness and pity for all sinful and 
sorrowing souls which afterwards distinguished him. 
When his father died in his arms, his heart, broken 
with natural grief, opened wide to embrace every form 
of human suffering. And enriched beyond measure by 
all the benedictions of which he had been the object, 
he prepared himself to shed them around him upon 
others, and to be a worthy representative to them of 
the infinite goodness of God. 


AT the age of nineteen, Hugh received a striking proof 
of the esteem in which he was held by his brothers in 
Religion. The Canons of Villard-Benoit unanimously 
requested the Bishop of Grenoble, who was called 
Geoffrey or Godfrey, 1 to allow him to be ordained 
deacon. At that time the dignity of a deacon was so 
much appreciated that many venerable persons wished 
for no higher position ; following therein the example 
of the first deacons of the early Christian Church. 
Peter of Blois, a writer of the twelfth century, cites 
a memorable instance of this. He had learnt, he 
tells us, from the lips of Pope Celestine III. himself, 
that before he ascended the Papal throne, the Pontiff 
had remained a deacon for sixty-five years without ever 
being raised to the priesthood. 2 

Hugh was perfectly conscious of the honour thus 
paid to his virtue, but his humility took alarm, and the 
proposal filled him with many misgivings. As we shall 
see later on, he had always ardently desired the priest- 
hood, and of course, the diaconate, as a preparation for 
the higher dignity ; but he thought himself too young 
and too unworthy to approach so near to the altar of 
God. However, it was of no use for him to bring 

1 This prelate was a Carthusian, and a friend of St. Anthelmus. In the 
time of Prior Basil, he confirmed the decrees of the first General Chapter of 
the Order. 

2 Peter of Blois, Ep. 123. Celestine III. was elected Pope at the age 
of eighty-five, and governed the Church from 1191 to 1198. 


forward such arguments, for no one would pay any 
attention to them; and, after his ordination, it was a 
never-failing source of joy to all his brothers to witness 
the angelic devotion with which he fulfilled his sacred 

The next step was to give him some apostolic work 
as a preacher, and here also it was soon discovered that 
he possessed exceptional qualifications for the task. 
St. Augustine, who was always regarded by the Canons 
Regular as their patriarch and lawgiver, furnished the 
young deacon with a perfect model of sacred eloquence 
and solid teaching. The holy Doctor says that ** before 
undertaking to instruct others, to give them encourage- 
ment, or to touch their hearts, the Christian orator ought 
to have recourse to God in prayer, and to place more 
trust in the help received directly from God, than in 
any flights of human eloquence ; so that, interceding 
at the feet of his Lord, for himself and his hearers, he 
should never exercise his ministry as a preacher before 
having been first a humble suppliant. Then, when the 
hour comes for him to speak, his soul, being bathed in 
the waters of Divine wisdom, will be ready to pour 
them out abundantly on the souls of his hearers, and 
to fertilize them with the blessings he has himself 
received. ... If the flowery language of the highest 
eloquence then rises to his lips, let him not fear to use 
it, but let it not be with premeditation ; rather let the 
words flow simply from the sublime thoughts which are 
inspiring him and carrying him away. ... In like 
manner, a warrior who is fighting with a sword covered 
with gold and precious stones, makes use of his weapon 
for self-defence and attack, without thinking at all of 
its value. ... A true orator does not rely upon the 
beauty and appropriateness of his words ; his words 
derive their value from him." 1 

1 De Doctrina Christiana, bk. iv. 


Hugh, with his noble natural character, had exactly 
these ideas of his duty as a preacher. His mind was 
quick to receive impressions, his heart was easily moved 
by all holy emotions, and he possessed that ardent love 
for souls, which is so necessary to any one who desires 
to touch them and draw them to God. His powerful 
words pierced the hearts of his hearers, like a sword 
which nothing could resist. Whether he was endeavour- 
ing to rouse the slothful from their indifference, or 
boldly denouncing the guilt of scandalous sinners, 
whether he was encouraging the just to higher efforts 
of virtue, or breaking the bread of the Word in any of 
its various forms, not one of his hearers was ever 
tempted to " despise his youth ; " on the contrary, he 
appeared to all as "the example of the faithful," 1 or 
as another Stephen, " full of grace and fortitude." 2 

The great success of the young preacher was able, 
moreover, to stand the test of time, so often fatal to 
an orator who is always addressing the same hearers. 
Days and months passed by, without exhausting the 
admiration of his brothers in Religion or of the people 
who flocked to hear him. And amongst those who 
returned the most heartfelt thanks to God, was the 
good and venerable Canon who had first guided the 
steps of Hugh in the paths of holiness and learning. 
He was now Prior, but he preserved his first affection 
for this well-beloved pupil. What a consolation it was 
for him to see all his efforts so well rewarded, and to 
feel that nothing more remained to be done, but to 
encourage this son of his soul, who was daily mounting 
higher and higher towards the summit of perfection. 

The time came when he was able to show the con- 
fidence he reposed in his dear Hugh, by entrusting 
to his care the " cell " of Saint-Maxime (now Saint - 
Maximin). The Canons Regular were allowed to 

i i Timothy iv. 12. 2 Acts vi. 8. 


MM parish priests, provided they remained faithful 
to the spirit of their apostolic vocation : the Council 
of Poitiers, held in noo, under the Legate of Pope 
Pascal II., had expressly granted them this privilege, 
without extending it to monks of other Orders. But 
for the exercise of this duty, according to the recom- 
mendation of Blessed Ivo of Chartres, it was necessary 
to select those whose conduct was most perfect and 
whose theology was most sound, because " no one is fit 
to become the guide and guardian of others, until he 
has first learned to rule his own life." 1 

It was obedience alone which decided the young 
Canon to accept the heavy burden thus laid upon him. 
And when he was installed in his little priory, not far 
from his father's old Castle of Avalon, he found himself 
destitute of even the most necessary resources. Far 
from being discouraged by these privations, which the 
vicinity of the noble dwelling of his ancestors must 
have made somewhat humiliating, he esteemed himself 
happy to be able to practise his vow of poverty more 
perfectly, and place all his trust in Divine Providence. 
The small revenues of the little priory were barely 
sufficient for the support of one canon and the few 
servants who ministered to his wants; but Hugh, in 
spite of this, wished to have with him another brother 
in Religion, who, being a priest, would be able to offer 
the Holy Sacrifice and administer the sacraments to his 
parishioners, while he himself could discharge the other 
duties of his pastoral care. For this post he begged 
the companionship of one of the older canons, a man 
whose spirit he knew and venerated, preferring the 
solid advantages of association with a grave Religious, 
to the natural pleasure he might have found in the 
v of a younger friend. 

With regard to the land and vineyards of the priory, 

1 Letter 93. 


he placed them in charge of honest tenant-farmers, who 
soon put the land into a better state and made it profit- 
able. For himself, the young parish priest took no 
thought for the morrow, but simply lived from day to 
day, doing the will of God and leaving the future in 
God's hands. Prayer and study filled up his time, when 
he was not engaged in his pastoral duties. Soon the 
appearance of the whole priory was changed. The 
land increased in value, the rents were higher, the 
tenants prospered in worldly things, and profiting 
by the example of their pastor, began to lead sober, 
just, and pious lives. The poor were assisted in their 
necessities, and the rich were pleased by their respect 
and obedience. The fame of this model parish spread 
far and wide, and many visitors came to Saint-Maximin 
to be the edified witnesses of what was being done 

Hugh took advantage of the presence of these 
crowds to sow the seed of the Gospel more abundantly. 
He preached continually in his little church, and every 
one of his hearers learnt something it was good for him 
to know, going away from Saint-Maximin strengthened 
in faith and resolved to lead a better life. Not 
content with speaking in public, the young pastor 
watched carefully over his sheep, notwithstanding their 
good reputation, and neglected no means of seeking 
after those who had gone astray, of raising up the fallen, 
of healing the wounded, and of leading all in the 
pastures of justice. 1 In short, he showed that he was 
not only a preacher, but a shepherd of souls, as well 
versed in the art of guiding and protecting them as in 
that of imparting instruction. 

There is one circumstance belonging to this period 
which will show us how right he was in his vigilance, 
and with what energy he could act, when the occasion 

* Ezechiel xxxiv. 16, 


arose. He himself related the facts many years after 
when he was Bishop of Lincoln, to some trusted 
fri.-nds who were discussing with him those words of 
our Divine Lord to St. Peter : "If thy brother shall 
offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee 
and him alone." 1 

After each one of those present had given his opinion 
as to how fraternal correction could best be exercised 
in conformity with this evangelical precept, Hugh 
spoke last, and confirmed his decision by the following 
example : 

" In my youth," he said, " when I was but a simple 
deacon, I had charge of a small parish, assisted in what 
was needful by a priest too old for other work. It 
happened that one of my parishioners was accused to 
me, and, what was worse, was truthfully accused, of 
the heinous sin of adultery. I was deeply grieved, and 
immediately made inquiries on the subject. Having 
ascertained beyond a doubt that the accusation was 
true, I sent for the guilty man, and saw him alone, 
speaking to him as the exigency of the case required. 
But far from confessing his crime, he denied it obsti- 
nately and indignantly, and when I persisted, he grew 
furious with anger, and vented curses and threats upon 
me. He then departed, leaving me in the deepest 
sorrow to see him so obstinately unrepentant. I then 
recollected the precept of which we have just been 
speaking, and, sending for the sinner again, in the 
presence of two, and then of three witnesses who knew 
of the affair, I reproved him a second and a third time, 
still making use of persuasion, and promising forgive- 
ness, if he would acknowledge his sin and do penance 
for it. He still refused to hear me ; he would promise 
nothing ; and would not even take steps to put an end 
to a cause of open scandal. At last, on a solemn feast- 

1 St Matt, xviii. 15, seq. 


day, I publicly denounced him in the church, and 
spoke openly of the infamy of his conduct. Finally, I 
threatened that if he did not at once give up his sin, and 
present himself as a penitent, I would deliver him over 
to Satan, to chastise him in his body, in interitum carnis. 1 
At this threat the guilty man, terrified and covered with 
confusion, rushed up to the altar, and there confessed 
and bewailed his fault with groans and tears. After 
he had thus done public penance, he was admitted to 
pardon and reconciliation." 

It was in this way that St. Hugh fought with evil, 
and overcame it. But he was not thinking then of the still 
more glorious conflicts and victories reserved for him 
in the future. His whole soul was longing after a life 
of solitude, in which, disengaged from all earthly cares, 
he might be able to seek after the " one thing necessary." 
The comparative solitude of his little Priory was not 
sufficient for him : he felt the need of separating himself 
more completely from the world and all worldly things, 
that he might make a new and more perfect sacrifice of 
himself to God. 

Towards the end of the century preceding the one 
in which St. Hugh lived, the same aspirations had 
drawn from the world another Regular Canon belonging 
to the diocese of Reims, who was then on the point of 
being promoted to the highest ecclesiastical dignities, 
and who as a reward for his act of self-sacrifice became 
the patriarch of the Carthusian Order. St. Bruno has 
himself described to us, in his own words, what solitude 
was to him, and the long line of faithful sons who have 
walked in his footsteps have confirmed the truth of his 

1 This was the form of excommunication used by St. Paul (i Cor. v. 5). 
Certain powers were allowed by custom to parish priests in the twelfth 
century, which were afterwards withdrawn. Yet even then they could not 
pronounce any public excommunication without special permission from 
their Bishop, which doubtless St. Hugh had obtained. 


words. In his letter to his special friend, Ralph le 
Provost and afterwards Archbishop of Reims, 

.id the following words, which deserve thoughtful 
meditation : " As to the blessing and sweetness of 
solitude and silence, let those who have chosen them 
tell their charm, for only those who have experienced 

joys can speak of them worthily. It is there that 
generous men can enter into themselves, can dwell with 
God alone in the very centre of their souls, can cultivate 
the germs of every virtue, and enjoy a foretaste of 
Paradise. It is there that we can acquire that purity 
of heart and serenity of expression which wounds the 
Heart of the Divine Spouse, and unites us to Him in 
the pure love which contemplates God alone. It is 
there that perfect rest accompanies labour, and action 
hurts not the peace of the soul. It is there that in 
return for their brave conflicts, God gives to His stout 
warriors the reward they have desired a peace which 
the world knows not, and the joy of the Holy Ghost. 
It is there they find the beautiful Rachel, so much more 
beloved by her husband than Lia, although Lia was 
the wife who had borne him many children. I am 
speaking here of the contemplative life ; and although 
its sons are less numerous than those of the active life, 
yet, like Joseph and Benjamin, they are infinitely dearer 
to their Father. It is there that the ' best part ' is to 
be found, which Mary chose, and which shall never be 
taken from her. . . . O my brother, fear not then to fly 
from the turmoil and misery of the world ; leave the 
storms that rage without, to shelter yourself in this safe 
haven. You know the words of the Divine Wisdom : 
* Unless a man forsake all that he hath, he cannot be 
My disciple.' Is it not a grand thing, is it not sweet 
and profitable, to enter into the school of Divine 
Wisdom, that there, under the teaching of the Holy 


Ghost, we may learn that sacred philosophy which 
alone can give true happiness ? " 

The sons of St. Bruno continued to be the living 
echo of the voice of their holy Father, by imitating 
his example, and making the desert blossom with their 
virtues. The thoughts of young Hugh had often been 
turned in that direction, and it was his delight to listen 
to the descriptions of those who had visited the Grande 
Chartreuse. His own Superior at Villard-Benoit had 
availed himself of his proximity to that abode of pre- 
dilection to renew his fervour there from time to time. 
And there is no doubt that the impressions received by 
him in that spot, and transmitted to his young disciple, 
had a great deal to do with Hugh's ardent desire of 
beholding these venerable monks, towards whom he 
felt so strong an attraction. 

At length the time approached when the next 
momentous step in the life of our Saint was to be 
taken. Hugh was determined to see for himself what 
this solitude was like of which he had heard so much. 
He asked and obtained permission to go there, and it 
was in the company of his own Prior that he one day 
joyfully set out to pay his first visit to the Grande 


IN the contemporary biography of St. Hugh, when we 
come to the commencement of his life in the desert, we 
read this expressive heading : " How he visited the 
Chartreuse, and fell in love with it at first sight." l A 
noble and holy love, which only those enlightened souls 
will understand, to whom God has revealed the 
mysterious attraction of that famous solitude and its 
inhabitants. Let us here pause for a moment, and try 
to enter, with the Saint, into the secret of its charm. 

The first sight of the desert of Chartreuse- 
separated as it is from the rest of the world, by a chain 
of wild and rocky mountains, strewn with the debris 
brought down by the avalanches, covered with ice and 
snow for two-thirds of the year, and full of precipices 
and dark forests produces two distinct impressions, 
which recur under varying forms in the descriptions of 
those who have visited the spot, " It is frightful !" say 
some. " It is sublime ! " say others. And the two 
opinions are less opposed to one another, than we might 
at first suppose. Has not the sublime always, from its 
very nature, a side that is terrible to our littleness and 
weakness? The question is, whether the soul is 
sufficiently strong to rise above its terrors, to forget 
them, to forget self also, and so to comprehend the 
infinite beauty which underlies the grandeur of the 

1 " Ubi cum priore suo Cartusiam inviserit, ct visam dilexerit.' 
{Magma Vita, bk. i. ch. i.) 


scene. When once this is accomplished, the desert 
begins to wear another aspect altogether, and blossoms 
out into charms, far greater than those of any peaceful 
and cultivated plain. Even the winter, long and severe 
as it is, is not without its enchanting surprises to 
those who are brave enough to face its hardships. No 
one can ever forget the splendour of the desert then, 
completely covered with snow, the fir-trees shining with 
a dazzling whiteness in the sun, the rocks ornamented 
with a thousand crystal icicles, and all under a 
cloudless sky of clearest blue. 

The same impression that is felt in presence of this 
grand solitude, is renewed when we come in contact 
with the monks that inhabit it. To the outward appear- 
ance, their lives are no less strange than their dwelling- 
place : their garments are coarse and poor, their silence 
is unbroken, their abstinence is perpetual, their fasts 
and mortifications are many, their lonely cells surround 
a cemetery ; the whole scene is repellent to eyes long 
accustomed to the beautiful things of this world. But 
when Divine grace takes hold of the heart of the 
beholder, everything is changed, and instead of exclaim- 
ing, " What a sad life ! " or, " What folly ! " he 
recognizes the sublime folly of the Cross, and cries out, 
with the three Apostles on Mount Tabor: " Lord, it is 
good for us to be here ! " 

Looking at the matter thus, from a nobler and 
more exalted stand-point, the desert of the Grande 
Chartreuse may be compared, as Pere le Masson has 
said, to a magnificent amphitheatre, of which the 
mountains form the walls and tiers of seats ; the 
meadows and forests are the curtains and the scenery ; 
while the arena is a broken and irregular surface, 
mounting from the rapid torrent which waters its lower 
steps, up to the monastery, where the soldiers of Christ 
are grouped together, and higher still, to that rock 


hidden in the depths of the forest, where the statue 
of St. Bruno stands, and where he seems still to be 
directing the peaceful campaign of his followers. We 
may certainly apply to the Grande Chartreuse those 
eloquent words of Holy Scripture : " The mountains 
are round about it : so the Lord is round about His 
people from henceforth, now, and for ever." 1 God 
found these beloved children of St. Bruno " in a desert 
land, in a place of horror and of waste wilderness. He 
has led them and taught them Himself ever since ; He 
has guarded them, as the apple of His eye. Like the 
mother-eagle, enticing her little ones to fly, and hovering 
over them, God has spread out His wings, He has taken 
those chosen ones with Him, He has carried them on 
His shoulders." 2 It was on those eagle wings that the 
Canon Hugh of Avalon was carried higher and higher, 
until he understood the mystery of the sight opened 
before him, and in his heart, thenceforth and for ever, 
embraced a life of solitude. 

Lost in admiration for that wonderful desert scene, 
"so near to Heaven, and so far from the turmoil of 
earth," he then visited the monastery, which stood in 
those days exactly where it stands now. For a 
terrible avalanche having almost entirely destroyed the 
original hermitage of St. Bruno and his first companions, 
in 1132, and seven monks having perished in the catas- 
trophe, Dom Guigo, who was then Prior, fixed the site 
of the new monastery lower down, where it would be 
protected from a similar disaster. The buildings, which 
were finished by his successor, St. Anthelmus, bore that 
character of simplicity which is suitable for the home 
of solitaries. Only that was provided which was needful 
for health and for the proper performance of the worship 
of God. At the time of which we speak, the cloister 
and cells were of wood, but they were sufficiently 
1 Psalm cxxiv. 2. 2 See Dem. xxxii. n. 


spacious and well-arranged to make a life of solitude 
very bearable. The church in the midst was built of 
stone, and was wanting neither in artistic design or 
beauty of ornament. The altar was formed of a single 
enormous block, which could only have been brought 
up the mountain and fixed in position by prodigious 

The monastery possessed also a well-furnished 
library, which especially attracted the attention of 
St. Hugh. " He saw in this abundance of books a 
powerful help to contemplation, and a means of inter- 
course with God." 1 Gilbert, Abbot of Nogent, had 
previously made the same remark, and in 1104, ne wrote 
of the first Carthusians: "Although they are poor, they 
have a magnificent library, so that they seem to labour 
all the more ardently to acquire the meat which perisheth 
not, having very little of that which is perishable. The 
Count de Nevers, paying them a visit out of devotion, 
was so touched by their poverty, that on his return 
home he sent them some silver plate of great price. 
This they immediately returned to him, saying they 
had no use for it, and the Count was so much edified 
by this refusal that he gave them a quantity of choice 
leather and parchment, which he knew to be necessary 
for the writing and binding of books. And this time 
they did not refuse his gift." 

Hugh was not content with examining the exterior 
of the monastery; he applied himself to the study of 
the Carthusian spirit, and found it all that he could 
desire. " The inhabitants pleased him even more than 
the habitation ; he saw in them the mortification of the 
flesh, serenity of heart, liberty of spirit, cheerful count- 
enances, and blameless conversation. Their Rule 
recommends solitude, but not singularity ; if their cells 
are separate, their hearts are united. Every one lives 



alone, but no one can possess anything of his own, or 
act differently from the rest. Every one is isolated 
from his brothers in Religion, yet is united with them 
in all he does. Each man is alone, and so escapes the 
tedium of society; but there is sufficient community 
life for him, so that he is not deprived of the advantage 
and consolation of fraternal charity. Above all things, 
each individual is protected by the safe fortress of 
obedience to one spiritual head, without which so many 
solitaries, left entirely to themselves, have been exposed 
to the greatest dangers. This was what so fascinated 
Hugh, this was what charmed and enraptured his 
heart, so that he was irresistibly drawn towards the 
Carthusian life." 1 

Hugh confided his wishes to the successor of St. 
Bruno, who was then Dom Basil, the eighth Prior of 
the Grande Chartreuse, elected in 1151. This venerable 
Religious, who had played a great part in the world, and 
who was looked upon as a Saint, followed the traditions 
of his predecessor, St. Anthelmus, and of the Priors who 
had gone before ; so that the Order was increased and 
strengthened under his administration. The General 
Chapter of the Order began under his rule to be held 
once a year, and it is this practice which has contributed 
so much to preserve the Order in its first fervour, for 
more than eight hundred years. To all the other 
merits of Dom Basil, this special one was added, 
whenever he was spoken of afterwards by Carthusian 
historians: "It was he," they say, "who received into 
our Order St. Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln." 

When the young Canon revealed the desire of his 
soul, and begged with tears to be admitted to the 
Novitiate, Dom Basil wished to test the reality of his 
vocation. The petitioner was of noble birth, his 
appearance was fragile, and he was very young ; might 

1 .\fjgn, i I'ita, p. 24. 


there not be some doubt of his perseverance ? More- 
over, the Constitutions of Dom Guigo, which were part 
of the Rule of the Order, gave a formal command to 
Superiors always to present as rigorous a picture as 
possible of cloistered life to all those who desired to 
embrace it. 1 Dom Basil executed this command to the 
very letter : " My good boy," he said, in his most frigid 
tones, " how can you possibly entertain such an idea ? 
Do you not know that the monks who dwell on these 
cold and hard rocks, must be as cold and hard as the 
rocks themselves ? They have no mercy upon their 
own flesh and they show no mercy to others. This is 
a most frightful country, and our Rule is terribly severe. 
Our hair-shirt alone would tear off your skin, and leave 
your bones' bare, and your constitution is far too delicate 
to support the other austerities of our Rule. Our life 
would kill you." 2 

Hugh had been hoping for a different reply to this, 
but he was not at all terrified at the difficulties thus 
presented to him. Like St. Lawrence, our deacon could 
say to this announcement of sufferings that nature 
recoils from, but which Divine grace can make light 
and easy : " This is a feast I have always looked forward 

1 Cap. xxii. : " Novitio itaque misericordiam postulanti (i.e., who asks for 
admission) dura proponuntur et aspera, totaque vilitas et asperitas vitae 
quam subire desiderat, prout fieri potest, ante oculos ponitur. Ad quae si 
imperterritus manserit et immotus," &c. (Migne, P.L. vol. 153, p. 682.) 

2 It is interesting to note the light in which Canon Perry puts this 
incident before his readers : ' ' Hugh was soon, however, to discover that 
all these advantages (of the Carthusian enclosure) did not avail to keep out 
spiritual pride. One of the Carthusian monks to whom he ventured to 
hint his desire to cast in his lot with them, sternly reproved his presumption, 
and contemptuously told him that the life was too high, the struggle too 
severe, for such as he was." (Life of St. Hugh of Avalon, p. 178.) Canon 
Perry, who can see nothing but spiritual pride in the discouraging speech of 
the Prior, would probably have been the very first to accuse him of taking 
unfair advantage of Hugh's boyish enthusiasm if the answer had been more 
favourable. [Eo.] 


to." Obstacles only inflamed his desire the more. He 
spoke to several of the other monks, and confided to 
tln-m the anguish of his heart. These good souls, who 
were not obliged, as their Prior was, to test vocations, 
took a pleasure in encouraging Hugh, in exhorting him 
to perseverance, and in promising him all the help that 
lay in their power, for the furtherance of his design. 
Hugh was rejoiced at their welcome kindness, and 
began to understand what was the real meaning of 
the words of Dom Basil. But another and still more 
formidable obstacle was to stand in his way, and this 
came not from the Carthusians but from the good Prior 
of Villard-Benoit. 

It was useless for Hugh to attempt to conceal the 
longing in his heart from the friend and Superior who 
knew him so well ; it was useless for him to beg the 
Carthusians to keep silence on the subject, the old 
Canon understood it all ; his fatherly heart revealed to 
him the crushing blow which threatened him, and he 
could not resign himself to it. He hurriedly announced 
to Hugh that they must leave the Grande Chartreuse 
at once, and as hurriedly departed. On their way back 
to Villard-Benoit, he gave free course to the grief which 
filled his heart, saying, with many tears: "O my 
beloved child, I see clearly that this journey to the 
Chartreuse has been a terrible misfortune for me and 
my church. I see that the solitude and silence of that 
place have enthralled you and carried you out of your- 
self. It is of little use for me to carry your body home 
again, your soul is elsewhere. And soon I fear the body 
will follow the soul, and the hope and consolation of my 
old age will be gone from me, alas, when I need it most. 

s it possible that you can thus forsake your father? 

Wave pity on me, my son, have pity on my white hairs, 
stay with me for the short time I have yet to live. 
You cannot have the heart to leave me. If your love 


for our Church and for your brothers in Religion has no 
influence over you, at least grant the request of your old 
father, and remain with him, to close his dying eyes." 

This language, dictated by an affection that was 
too human, was unworthy of the faithful friend who 
had formerly said to his young pupil : *' It is for Jesus 
Christ that I am educating you ; " and the grief which 
was overwhelming him made him lose sight of those 
superior motives which triumph over weak nature. 
Seeing that Hugh was deeply touched by his sorrow, 
and was weeping with him, he went farther still, and 
made a request, or rather gave a command, which even 
his grief could not excuse. " My beloved son is so 
good," he said, " that he has already granted my 
prayer. Therefore, I ask of him to swear solemnly to 
me, in the name of God, that he will never forsake me 
as long as I live, and will give up his intention of 
joining the Carthusians. If he will not do this, I 
cannot rest." 

At these words, Hugh was sorely troubled. He 
saw before him the painful alternative of either dis- 
obeying the voice of God, which was calling him 
interiorly to a more perfect life, or of disobeying the 
command of his earthly superior, which had been to 
him hitherto as the voice of God. Was his vocation 
strong enough to oppose such a proposition as this ? 
Undoubtedly it would have been, if he had had time 
for calm reflection, but, carried away by his emotions, 
he stifled the cry of his soul, and gave the required 

We should not have hesitated to say that this was a 
grievous mistake, almost a culpable weakness, if our 
Saint, who was by no means slow to avow his own 
shortcomings, had ever seemed to hold himself guilty in 
after years. But the historian of his life assures us 
that in this matter, " he acted in good faith and purity 


of intention, placing his confidence in God, and trusting 
that God would bring about his deliverance." 

Nevertheless, he was exceedingly grieved and 
agitated, and not all the grateful and reassuring words 
with which his Superior sought to console him, could 
restore peace to his soul. He thought incessantly of 
the graces he had lost by delaying to follow his new 
vocation, which became stronger day by day. But there 
was his fatal oath, keeping him back from the solitude 
he desired. What could he do ? To whom could he 
confide his anguish unless to God, who could see the 
purity of his intention ? 

God did not indeed abandon His faithful servant, 
and after allowing him to experience the full bitterness 
of this trial, at length dispersed his doubts, and poured 
full light upon his darkness. His conscience, thus 
enlightened, took courage, and assured him that such 
an oath was not binding, " wrung from him," as it was, 
" by surprise," and in a moment of emotion, " to the 
detriment of his perfection and eternal salvation." 

No sooner did he see where his duty lay, than he 

hastened to obey the call. He put all the affairs of 

his priory in order, and then, telling no one of his 

intention, set out once more for the Grande Chartreuse. 

He never afterwards regretted this determined step, 

but replied, many years after, to a confidential friend, 

who asked him if it was right thus to break a solemn 

promise. " Never have I felt the slightest scruple about 

it ; rather, has it been to me a source of unfailing joy, 

because from it, I have derived the greatest blessings." 

Nevertheless, he could not bid farewell to Villard- 

olt, to St. Maximin, and to the Castle of Avalon, 

-out a lively sense of the sacrifice he was making 

of his happy and honourable past, for a future of self- 

mciation and penance. When, later on, he became 

Prior of the Carthusian monastery at Witham, and 


then Bishop of Lincoln, he revisited the spot that was 
so dear to him, and never forgot the religious family in 
which his early youth had been passed amid so much 
affection and edification. 


The account given above of St. Hugh's vocation to 
the Carthusian Order makes no mention of an incident 
which is detailed at considerable length in the Vita 
Metrica, and is there described as having contributed 
very materially to direct the thoughts of our Saint 
towards a life of stricter seclusion. According to the 
verse narrative, the young Canon, while discharging 
his pastoral duties at Saint Maximin, felt that his 
pursuit of perfection was interfered with by the visits 
of women to his "cell," who sought him out no doubt 
in most cases with a perfectly genuine desire to obtain 
from him spiritual counsel and direction. In one 
instance, however, if the metrical writer is to be trusted, 
a woman, lost to all sense of shame, deliberately set 
herself to work to compromise him. St. Hugh, we 
are told, was both shocked and terrified at this assault 
upon his virtue. In the course of the interview the 
woman had laid her hand upon his arm. Thereupon 
he is said to have taken a knife and cut away the flesh 
where the woman's touch had rested. 1 From that day 
he knew no peace until he had placed himself in safety 
within the cloister of the Grande Chartreuse. I must 
confess that this story seems to me to have little pro- 
bability in its favour. Such a self-inflicted mutilation 
must have left a terrible scar to the day of his death, 

1 Sic tactum mulieris Hugo quasi vulnus abhorrens 
Vipereutn facinus sic indignatur ut ipsam 
Particulam carnis ferro prsecidat acuto ; 
Jit cum carne sua carnalia scandala delet. 

(Vita Metrica, 11. 254 257.) 


and a scar like this would have been just the sort of 
tiling which the devoted monk Adam, who seems to 
have been Hugh's chaplain, body-servant, and confidant 
all in one, could not possibly have failed to question 
him about and to record in his narrative. It seems 
most likely that the whole passage is nothing more than 
a poetical amplification of a casual observation of 
Giraldus Cambrensis to the effect that St. Hugh was 
troubled at the freedom with which women were per- 
mitted to come and go in such outlying chaplaincies, 
where the Canons lived like the ordinary secular clergy, 
and that he resolved, according to the ascetical ideas of 
the early centuries, to seek safety in flight. It seemed 
worth while to make reference to the incident here, if 
only to protest against the utterly unwarranted remark 
of a modern Anglican biographer of St. Hugh. " We 
are compelled," says Canon Perry, " to gather from the 
account that the state of morals of the Canons and 
Canonesses was so bad that Hugh could not live among 
them with safety to his soul." It would be hard to 
imagine a more preposterous inference. One of the 
last acts of St. Hugh's life was to visit the scenes of his 
early youth in company with Adam, his future bio- 
grapher, when St. Hugh presented to the Canons a 
Bible of the value of ten marks, a most munificent 
present in those days; and not one syllable does his 
biographer hint either here or elsewhere of the slightest 
irregularity amongst them. What he does tell us shows 
that Hugh preserved to the end a deep veneration for 
the men who had guided him in his early years, and in 
whose society his father had chosen to end his days. 
He tells us too, that when the Bishop visited Saint 
Maximin, white-headed old men and women bent double 
with years crowded round him and were never wearied 
with publishing the praises of his apostolic work among 
them. No doubt it was these very vetula incurva et 


mulieres estate provecta whose devotion in their younger 
days St. Hugh had found dangerous to his soul. But it 
is infamous upon such evidence to formulate a sweeping 
charge of immorality against his fellow-Canons, and to 
drag in, moreover, under the same censure a suppo- 
sititious community of Canonesses, for whose very 
existence there is not a shadow of proof. Both Giraldus 
Cambrensis and the author of the metrical Life speak 
not of Canonesses, but of the frequentia mulierum ; and 
the latter, in his highly poetical description of the mulier 
qua eum tentavit and her dress, makes it abundantly clear 
that she was certainly not a Religious. Moreover, it 
is incredible that in a little "cell" like Saint Maximin, 
which could barely support Hugh and the one aged 
priest his companion, a community of Canonesses 
should have been set up close beside them. 

St. Hugh has always been looked upon as an almost 
perfect representative of the Carthusian spirit, and that 
spirit was the product of the ascetical ideas of the age, 
and was probably latent in his heart even before he 
joined the Order. Now the attitude of the Carthusian 
Rule towards women may well be illustrated from a 
section of the Consuetudines of Dom Guigo, their fifth 
Superior General, drawn up some thirty years only 
before the date of which we are speaking. It is headed, 
De Mulieribus, and despatches the whole question with 
brief incisiveness in the following two clauses : 

" Under no circumstances whatever do we allow 
women to set foot within our precincts, knowing as we 
do that neither wise man, nor prophet, nor judge, nor 
the entertainer of God, nor the sons of God, nor the 
first created of mankind fashioned by God's own hands, 
could escape the wiles and deceits of women. 

" Solomon, David, Samson, Lot, those who took to 
themselves the wives they had chosen, and Adam our 
common father, remind us that man cannot conceal 


fire in his bosom without burning his clothes, cannot 
walk upon red-hot coals without scorching his feet, 
cannot touch pitch without being defiled." 

Is it wonderful that a young deacon who shared 
such views should think that the lonely life of a parish 
priest, necessarily brought by his parochial duties into 
daily contact with women, good, bad, and indifferent, 
was an obstacle to his pursuit of perfection and even a 
danger to his soul ? 

The same Anglican writer just referred to, com- 
menting upon St. Hugh's disregard of his oath in 
becoming a Carthusian, remarks that " no plain man 
can hesitate to pronounce this a sinful act," and pro- 
ceeds to apologize for St. Hugh by inveighing against 
the low morality of the middle ages, and the delusive 
"glories of the spiritual life." That point has been excel- 
lently dealt with by Father Bridgett in an article on 
Canon Perry's book in the Dublin Review for April, 1880, 
since reprinted in Blunders and Forgeries. I will only 
add that the difficulty involved in such moral problems 
is one that might have counselled moderation to the 
most anti-casuistical of writers. Could any sane man 
maintain that Herod, having wrongfully sworn to do 
whatever he was asked, was bound in conscience to 
put St. John the Baptist to death ? Again, if a young 
Jew were induced by his father to take an oath never 
to become a Christian, would Canon Perry consider 
him bound by it, even after he had become convinced 
of the truth of Christianity ? Or what would he say of 
a Dissenter in similar circumstances, who had sworn 
never to become an Anglican, or of a man who had 
sworn never to touch alcohol, and is solemnly assured 
by his doctors that a moderate use of it is necessary 
to save his life ? St. Hugh believed on calmer reflection 
that God willed him to be a Carthusian, and that the 
salvation of his soul depended on his listening to the 
call.- [ED.] 


1163 1173. 

HUGH, on his return to the Grande Chartreuse, was 
welcomed with joy and kindness. His vocation had 
indeed sustained a severe trial, and could no longer be 
a matter of doubt to any one. The apparent coldness 
of Dom Basil was changed to paternal affection, and 
he at once admitted the young Canon to the novitiate, 
and led the way to his cell with the usual ceremonies. 

We will only recall one detail of this touching 
custom. Then, as now, the postulant, when making 
his public petition to be admitted into the Carthusian 
Order, prostrated himself before the whole community, 
assembled in Chapter. " What do you ask ? " said the 
Prior. " Mercy," replied the petitioner. Hugh felt 
deeply the sentiments of humility and gratitude which 
this word expresses. He considered himself most 
happy to be thus admitted into the society of Religious 
for whom he had such exceeding veneration. He 
regarded this commencement of a new life as a special 
blessing from God, and making no account of the years 
he had spent in the practice of virtue, looked upon 
himself as a simple beginner, taking his first steps in 
the path of perfection. Thus fulfilling the words of 
Holy Scripture : " When a man hath done, then he 
shall begin." 1 

[According to Dom LeCouteulx, 2 the General Chapter 

. xvjji. 6. 8 Annales, ad an f 1163, vol. ii, p. 250. 


of 1163 passed a decree which would seem to have 
reference to the admission of St. Hugh as a postulant, 
and to enable us thus to fix the date of his departure 
from Villard-Benoit. The provision spoken of enacts, 
that " when a canon regular is received into our Order, 
he is allowed to retain his habit until the day of his 
profession, while other monks are clothed in our cowl 
as soon as they are admitted." It may be assumed from 
this that our Saint still retained, during his noviceship, 
the canon's white habit and surplice, but this, of course, 
did not prevent him from wearing the hair-shirt under- 

An old tradition still points out the cell which St. 
Hugh inhabited during his sojourn at the Grande 
Chartreuse. It is at the end of the Gothic cloister, and is 
surmounted by the letter F. Over the entrance we read 
these words, upon which the life of the Saint was a living 
commentary : Beati qui csuriunt et sitinnt justitiam, qiwniam 
ipsi saturabuntur Blessed are they that hunger and 
thirst after justice; for they shall have their fill." 1 
With the exception that stone walls have replaced 
the wooden ones of the twelfth century, the cell presents 
much the same appearance now as it would have done 
in the time of St. Hugh. 

Passing through the door which opens on the 
cloister, we find ourselves in a short covered passage 
used to pace up and down in in wet weather. This 
communicates with the solitary's little garden, and 
further on with his wood-shed, and the room which 
serves him for carpentry or other manual work. At the 
end of the passage, a staircase takes us to the upper 
floor, and here we enter first a room used as a kitchen 
in the time of the Saint, and then the cell proper, in 
which he lived and prayed. On one side of it, in a sort 
of oratory, stand a stall and a pric-dieu, on the other is 
i St. Matt v. 6. 


a bed which shuts up like a cupboard, containing only 
a straw palliasse and woollen coverings. A small table, 
fitting into the recess of the window, served for his 
solitary meals, and a crucifix and a few holy pictures 
are the sole ornaments of the humble dwelling. Ad- 
joining is a little work-room, a few wooden shelves 
holding the books which were required by the monk for 
his studies. 

[Perhaps it may be well to remind the reader at this 
point that the Carthusian monk, though living with his 
brethren under the rule of a common Superior, leads 
essentially the life of a hermit, or solitary. It is, if we 
may so describe it, monastic discipline " on the sepa- 
rate system." Three times in the twenty-four hours 
for the long midnight Office, in the morning for Mass, 
and in the evening at Vespers he repairs to the 
church to join the other monks in offering to God a 
common worship. On each Sunday of the year, and on 
occasional festivals, he takes his meals in a common 
refectory, and is further allowed to converse with his 
brethren between None and Vespers. Once also in 
the week, the merciful Rule prescribes for the health 
of mind and body that he shall take his spatiamentum, or 
walk abroad, which is made a matter of obligation, and 
lasts between two and three hours. But apart from 
these occasions, the Carthusian spends the hours of 
both day and night in his cell alone. It is there he 
eats his frugal meal, or meals, which are now passed in 
to him ready prepared, through a little wooden shutter, 
but which, in St. Hugh's time, the monk cooked for 
himself; it is there he labours, studies, and takes exer- 
cise ; it is there that he prays, reciting in solitude the 
day hours, the Office of our Blessed Lady, and often 
the Office for the Dead as well. People have sometimes 
taken scandal at the roomy " cells " of the Grande 
Chartreuse, blaming the extravagance of these long 


rows of little houses, each with its covered passage and 
garden ; but as one of the early Generals of the Order 
has well said, " if those who censure our customs would 
only learn by a little personal experience what a soli- 
tary life is like, they would understand the reason of 
many things which are now strange to them." Neither 
is the solitude the only mortification of the Carthusian 
monk, nor the greatest. A perpetual rough hair-shirt, 
worn night and day next the skin, an unbroken absti- 
nence from meat and animal fat, a point in which no 
dispensation is tolerated even in sickness, the long six 
months' Lent, and the weekly fast on bread-and-water 
all these austerities, and others besides, represent the 
price which the solitary pays for such little semblance 
of comfort as is involved in his five-roomed house, his 
garden, and his provision of books and utensils.] 

But to return to that well-beloved hermitage in the 
Grande Chartreuse where St. Hugh spent the best, if 
also the least eventful, years of his life. From the 
little garden belonging to the cell, we see, above the 
wall of the enclosure, and framed as it were in a 
picture, the wild beauty of the desert mountain. 
Forests of pine-trees, in their ever-green freshness, 
relieved in summer-time by the brighter foliage of the 
beech, guide the eye to the colossal rocks which serve 
as buttresses to the peak of the Grand-Som, and it 
seems as if that mighty monument hung almost per- 
pendicularly over the little hermitage, at the height of 
more than three thousand feet. There, in his moments 
of relaxation, which are as necessary to the solitary as 
to other mortals, he could gaze on that sublime spec- 
tacle, and draw from it the purest enjoyment and the 
most exalted impressions. 

It is easier thus to give a sketch of the exterior 
situation than to give a satisfactory description of the 
life that was led there. Nevertheless, we must find 


some answer to the question : What did St. Hugh do 
in his solitude, during the ten years he dwelt in that 
lonely cell ? We will try to reply in three words, and 
will say simply : he prayed, he worked, he denied 
himself in all things. 

Prayer is the chief occupation of a Carthusian. 
He does not seek solitude that he may give way to 
vague dreams, and lead a life of mental sloth, but his 
great aim is to be united -to his God, 'and he makes 
use of vocal and mental prayer as a means to this 

Everything in his life is so arranged as best to 
dispose his soul to recollection, to meditation, and, if 
grace calls him to mount higher, to that state of more 
perfect prayer which mystical theology calls contem- 
plation, and which is indeed a foretaste of the Beatific 

We must always remember that the contemplative 
life does not necessarily imply this state of perfect 
contemplation. God gives His choicest graces to 
whom He will, and there are many devout and humble 
souls who are content to wait for them till they reach 
Heaven. But there is no doubt that the life of a 
Carthusian opens the door for these graces, and all 
may desire them. The recital in common of the Divine 
Office brings a beneficial variety into the solitary's life. 
Without speaking of the welcome break in the mono- 
tony introduced by the changing ritual of the greater 
and lesser festivals, the ecclesiastical year calls up 
before him all the mysteries of our Lord's Life one by 
one in a sort of continuous drama. Grave and simple 
ceremonies serve to enforce attention to the sacred words 
which fall from his lips, not only in choir, in the 
presence of his religious brethren, but also in his cell, 
where he says a portion of the Office alone, but with 
the same external observances as if he were in church. 


The Mother of pure love and holy hope comes to 
encourage his solitude with her sweet smiles. For the 
Office of the Blessed Virgin, which is daily recited, in 
addition to that said in choir, far from being an addi- 
tional burden, is a source of the greatest consolation. 
And the Office of the Dead, which is often added to the 
two preceding, in chanty to the suffering souls in 
Purgatory, stimulates his fervour by keeping ever before 
his eyes that purity and freedom from stain without 
which it is impossible to enter Heaven. 

As soon as he took up his abode in his cell, Hugh 
learnt how to recite these different Offices, according 
to the liturgical rules of the Order, from a venerable 
monk who filled the post of Novice-Master ; the Prior 
also making frequent visits, and giving many instruc- 
tions to his new son. So well did he profit by these 
lessons, that he was able to say afterwards, when 
rebuking any of his own clergy for negligence or 
unpunctuality : " From the time I was first received at 
the Grande Chartreuse, I cannot recollect a single 
instance in which I kept others waiting, or caused an 
interruption in a religious function." We may judge 
from this of his spirit of regularity and his attention to 
the external worship of God. 

No less careful was he to practise all the morti- 
fications commanded or permitted by the Order. If a 
life of solitude appears dull and insipid to persons in 
the world who try to follow it in some measure, it is 
because there is wanting to them this salt which savours 
all the rest, the stimulating condiment of mortification 
and penance. Hugh asked for no dispensations, and 
courageously followed every prescribed austerity. Night- 
watchings, frequent fasts, continual abstinence from flesh 
meats, severe disciplines, the perpetual hair-shirt worn 
even during sleep, these, with silence and solitude, 
formed the mortifications imposed by rule. During Lent, 


he fasted every week for three days on bread and water 
only, doing the same during the whole of Holy Week. 
And this practice he observed, notwithstanding his 
many infirmities, up to the time of his being made 
Bishop. This strict fast, which the Rule calls abstinence, 
is still commanded for one day in each week, unless a 
dispensation be granted, which must be renewed each 
time. In his book of Constitutions, Dom Guigo tells us 
that it was formerly practised every Monday, Wednes- 
day, and Friday ; but as we read that St. Hugh 
performed his penances according to the "ancient Rule 
and example," we may conclude that this more severe 
form of abstinence was very soon limited to special 
seasons of penance. But this comparative relaxation 
was compensated for by other changes ; an order being 
given for the Divine Office to be sung instead of said, 
which made the night watches much longer and more 
trying. This rule was introduced when Dom Basil was 

St. Hugh was also faithful to his vow of obedience, 
for without this most important mortification of the will, 
bodily austerities are of no value. The authorNof the 
aforesaid Constitutions places this virtue of obedience 
above all others. After announcing that no Carthusian 
is allowed to perform any extraordinary penance with- 
out the special permission of his Prior, he adds : 
" Moreover, if the Prior commands one of his Religious 
to take more food, or to sleep for a longer time, in fact, 
whatever command may be given us by our Superior, 
we are not allowed to disobey, lest we should disobey 
God also, who commands us by the mouth of our 
Superior. All our practices of mortification and 
devotion would be fruitless and of no value, without 
this one virtue of obedience, which alone can make 
them acceptable to God." 

Guided by this truly religious spirit, Hugh chastised 


his body, but at the same time submitted his will to the 
will of those in authority over him seeking their advice 
on every occasion, and so avoiding the two extremes of 
too great severity or too great self-indulgence. He 
obtained leave for some extraordinary penances : he 
was allowed to do what his strength permitted, but was 
not allowed to go beyond his strength, and thus 
observed the limits of that perfect discretion which 
St. Anthony recommends, and which has always been a 
distinguishing mark of the Carthusian Order. 

It was obedience also which regulated his working 
hours, and dictated the employment of them. A part 
of this time was given to reading and study, another 
part to the copying of manuscripts, -which, in those 
days, when printing was unknown, formed one of the 
most important duties of a cloistered life. By it the 
monastic libraries were enriched with all the treasures 
of sacred and profane literature, and those precious 
relics of antiquity were handed down to posterity. In 
giving a list of the few articles which were to furnish 
the cell of each monk, Dom Guigo is especially careful 
to enumerate everything that was necessary for carrying 
out this important work, which was brought to such 
marvellous perfection in the monasteries of the middle 
ages. 1 He then gives a list of the books which were 
to be lent to each solitary, and commands that the 
greatest care should be taken of them. 

His life of prayer, mortification, and hard work, 

1 Dom Guigo enjoins that each monk should be provided with " a desk, 
pens, chalk, two pumice stones, two horns, a scalpel, two knives, or razors, 
for shaving smooth the parchment, a bodkin, an awl, lead, a rule and 
rul.-r to rule with, tablets, and ink." Each one may also have from the 
library two books, of which he is to take the greatest care ; for he adds, 
" books furnish the perpetual food of our souls, and while Carthusians 
cannot spread the word of God with their tongues, they can do so by 
writing with thrir hands." (Constituthncs Guigonis. i. cap. 28 ; Miene P L 
vot cliii. p. 6o4.)-[ED.] 


prepared St. Hugh in some degree for the extraordinary 
struggles and temptations he was now to pass through. 
These conflicts were terrible. The devil made use of 
all his evil ingenuity to trouble the peace of this soul, 
so dear to God, and to disgust him with the life he had 
chosen. A thousand temptations affrighted his solitude, 
and night and day, like another St. Paul, he felt the 
sting of the flesh, and had to endure the " buffets " 
of Satan. It was in vain he resisted with all his 
might, it was in vain he redoubled his prayers and 
penances, calling upon God with groans and tears ; 
the temptation continued to torment him, until sud- 
denly, and in one moment, the God of all consolation 
came to his assistance, and the struggle was over. 
Then he was astonished, as he afterwards told a 
trusted friend, to see how quickly peace returned to 
his heart, and could not understand how it was that in 
an instant he could pass from that state of agony and 
darkness into the full light of a Divine joy and calm. 
" O my God," he exclaimed, at the remembrance of 
this time of trial, " while I was deploring the horrible 
thoughts that assailed me, and humbling myself beneath 
Thy feet, while I felt myself to be but dust and ashes, 
suddenly Thou didst take pity on Thy poor servant, 
and didst pour upon him the light of Thy consolation. 
Then didst Thou give me to taste of Thy hidden 
manna in such a way that those wondrous delights 
made all the sweetness of the world seem bitter to me. 
But those happy moments of consolation were rare and 
fleeting. New temptations came, new struggles, new 
cries for help. But never, in spite of all my unworthi- 
ness, did Thy mercy forsake me ; in the midst of 
darkness I heard Thy voice still speaking in the depths 
of my soul ; and it was Thy hand that supported and 
guided me through all." 1 

1 Magnet Vita, bk. i. ch. 9. 


God has His own designs, full of mercy in reality, 
when He thus allows His chosen ones to be tempted 
and tried. He humbles them, that He may afterwards 
exalt them. He shows them their own nothingness, 
before inebriating them with His love and revealing to 
them His secrets. It is God's way with all His Saints. 
And Hugh, who was called to the highest contempla- 
tion, rose in proportion as his sorrows and humiliations 
had cast him down. All these trials did but confirm 
his determination to lead a solitary life, and at the end 
of his year of novitiate he begged to be allowed to 
take his vows, according to the custom of the Order 
and the ceremonial which is still in use. 

On the appointed day, during the Offertory of the 
Conventual Mass, the novice advances to the foot' of 
the altar, to unite his sacrifice with that of the adorable 
Victim. He sings three times, in the words of the 
Psalmist : Suscipe me, Domine, secundum eloquinm tuttm, et 
vivam : et non confundas me ab expectation mea. 1 The choir 
then repeat the same words, also three times, after 
which the novice kneels before each of his brothers in 
Religion, saying humbly, " Pray for me, my Father." 
He then returns to the entrance of the sanctuary, where 
the Prior puts over his shoulders the monk's cowl, 
which has just been blessed, " as a symbol of innocence 
and humility." Then comes the solemn moment of 
actual profession, the formula for which ran and still 
runs in these terms: '< I, Brother Hugh of Avalon, 
promise perseverance, obedience, and true conversion, 
here before Almighty God and His Saints, and before 
the holy relics of this hermitage, which has been con- 
structed in His honour, in that of the Blessed Mary, 
ever Virgin, and of St. John the Baptist, in the presence 
of Dom Basil, Prior of this Monastery." After chanting 

Psalm cxviii. v. 116 : Uphold me according to Thy word and I 
hall live : and let me not be confounded in ray expectation." 


the words of this written formula, the newly professed 
lays it upon the altar, which he kisses at the same time, 
and then prostrates himself to receive the blessing of 
the celebrant. In this blessing the Prior implores Jesus 
Christ, the sole Way that leads to the Eternal Father, 
" to guide this Religious who has renounced all the 
joys of the world, in the path of monastic perfection." 

Hugh rose from his knees with the one thought that 
he had at last obtained the grace so ardently desired. 
He was a Carthusian, and it was for ever. No after 
dignity could make him forget this first and greatest 
one. Faithful to his vow of perseverance, he wished 
for nothing but to pass the rest of his life in his beloved 
cell, and he only quitted it with extreme reluctance. 
Faithful to his vow of obedience, he never took any 
step, even to the acceptance of the episcopate, without 
a command from his Superiors, keeping always the 
Rule in its integrity. And faithful to his vow of a 
true conversion, he never halted in his triumphant 
march towards perfection, and embalmed the desert 
with the odour of his sanctity. 



AFTER his profession, Hugh was able to see more of his 
brothers in Religion, as the Rule allows conversation 
on Sundays, on great feast-days, and also during the 
stay of any honoured guest at the monastery. This is 
a legitimate consolation, and a preservative against the 
dangers of absolute seclusion. It is besides a means of 
mutual edification, for the treasures of charity and 
fervour, accumulated by each individual Religious in 
his lonely cell, are then made common property, and 
without a shadow of affectation, these holy souls 
unconsciously reveal their progress in perfection to 
each other, even in the most simple words. In the 
biography of St. Hugh we read : " In this assembly of 
just men, were some of exceeding sanctity and gravity, 
which drew towards them the veneration of many great 
princes and prelates. The Prior of the house, whose 
name was Basil, was never known by any other title 
than the Saint, so admirable was the perfection of his 
virtues. His monks followed closely in his footsteps, 
so that it was not easy to distinguish which of them 
>vas the most fervent and perfect. ... All persevered 
zealously in observing the strictest poverty ; in for- 
getting the things of time for those of eternity ; in 
practising humility and compunction of heart ; in 
taking the lowest place, and exalting their brothers." l 

.;HJ nta, bk. ii. ch. 10. 


We may be sure that Hugh was not behindhand in 
giving edification in his turn. To each one, Superiors, 
equals, and inferiors, he always showed the greatest 
charity and respect. And, as at Villard-Benoit, his 
Prior now gave him an opportunity of practising these 
virtues, by placing in his charge an aged and infirm 
monk, who was too weak and ill to be able to leave his 
cell. Hugh recited the Divine Office with him, and 
rendered him every service that charity and kindness 
could suggest, just as he had formerly tended his aged 
father. In the person of this sick and feeble old man, 
who gave an admirable example of patience, Hugh 
recognized and adored his Divine Lord, and his devo- 
tion to his charge knew no bounds. 

Whether the duty had been specially laid upon him, 
or whether it was his own zeal that prompted it, we 
know not, but this holy old man began to prepare his 
infirmarian for receiving the grace of the priesthood, 
and thus to repay by spiritual benefits the debt of 
gratitude he owed to one "who took care of him as a 
mother takes care of her little child." We believe that 
our Saint was about thirty years of age when he was 
ordained priest. His biographer tells us, in fact, that 
he had already passed several years at the Grande 
Chartreuse, and we know also that such was the age 
formerly required by the canon law. 

When the day of ordination was approaching, the 
man of God, whom Hugh was waiting upon, wished to 
sound his dispositions. So he said : " My son, the time 
is coming when you may be ordained priest, if you 
wish. You have only to give your consent, and this 
dignity will be conferred upon you." At this announce- 
ment Hugh's heart bounded. It had long been his 
greatest joy and consolation to serve at the altar, and 
to feed on the Bread of Heaven. How ardently, 
therefore, did he desire the honour of himself celebrating 


the Holy Sacrifice, and of uniting himself oftener, and 
still more closely, with the Lamb of God. So he made 
no secret of his wish to his old friend, but replied 
simply and candidly, " There is nothing in this world 
I desire so much." 

" What do you say ? " exclaimed the old monk. 
" How dare you think of such a thing ? Who could 
ever have believed you would be capable of such 
presumption ? I was never more astonished. Have 
you not often heard it said, He who does not refuse the 
priesthood, is not worthy to receive it ? And you, far 
from refusing it, you are not afraid, as you have just 
told me yourself, to long for it with eagerness ! " 

Hugh was terrified, and thunderstruck, as it were, 
by this reproach ; he threw himself at the feet of the old 
monk, and with tears asked pardon for his presumption. 
The venerable invalid was deeply moved by this great 
humility ; he also wept, and telling Hugh to rise, drew 
him to a seat at his side. Then, inspired by the spirit 
of prophecy, he uttered these memorable words: "Fear 
not, my son ; and I will no longer call you my son, but 
my lord. For I know well whose spirit it was which 
dictated your answer to me just now. And I tell you 
the truth, that soon you will be made a priest, and on 
the day that God wills, you will be made a bishop." 

Thus reassured, Hugh began to prepare for his 
ordination. As to the dignity of bishop, which his old 
friend had predicted to him, far from desiring it as he 
desired the priesthood, he dreaded it exceedingly, and 
to such a degree, that when it was really offered to him, 
he did all he could to prevent the fulfilment of the 
prophecy. As the old monk had said, " He showed 
himself worthy, by refusing it." 

We can easily understand that the priesthood did 
not inspire him with the same fears. Without ceasing 
to admire the deep humility which induces many holy 


Religious to refuse this dignity, we contend that the 
sacerdotal consecration is a marvellous completion of 
the religious consecration. A priest, who is not a 
Religious, will be less disposed to understand and 
practise the solemn admonition of the Pontifical : 
" Know what you are doing ; imitate Him whom you 
touch ; and since it is the Death of the Lord which you 
represent on the altar, be careful to mortify your own 
body." On the other hand, a Religious who is not a 
priest, has not the same help for making his self-immola- 
tion yet more perfect, and also deprives it of much of the 
power and fruitfulness it might have for the salvation 
of souls. Just as a true priest ought to be a real 
victim, and finds the most abundant graces for the 
attainment of this end in the monastic life, so the 
victim who has consecrated himself entirely to the reli- 
gious life, gains much by becoming also a priest, 
because he thus resembles more closely his crucified 
Lord, who was Priest and Victim at the same time, 
and is so, daily, in the Sacrifice of the Mass. 

Two characteristic ceremonies of the Carthusian 
liturgy symbolize this double transformation. Before 
beginning the Holy Mass, the Carthusian monk pros- 
trates himself on his side, at the foot of the altar. 
Seeing him thus, with his head partly bowed down, as 
though it were resting on the Heart of Jesus, and half 
raised, as if to listen for a heavenly voice, we recognize 
the victim sanctified by the contemplative life, and 
willingly offering himself in union with the Divine 
Lamb. But when the same Religious rises, and puts 
on his priestly vestments, all is changed. He commences 
the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and during the greater part 
of the Canon, his arms are stretched out, as though to 
embrace the whole world, just as the arms of our 
Divine High Priest were stretched out upon the Cross. 
Then he is no longer a simple monk, he is a priest 


bearing up the universe, as he bears his Creator in his 
hands ; in his Sacrifice of the God-Man, he renews his 
ifice of himself, he feels the grandeur of his own 
office as a victim, and conceives a new desire to suffer 
for the souls of men. 

Such a true victim did St. Hugh become when he 
had received his sacerdotal consecration and was able 
to offer the adorable Sacrifice. In so far as obedience 
allowed him, he redoubled his mortifications and 
penances. The thought of the great act he was now 
able to accomplish at the altar, absorbed his whole 
being. After a fervent preparation, his lively faith 
could not be concealed from the eyes of those who 
assisted at his Mass. It seemed as if he really saw 
his Divine Lord in the sacred Host, and indeed, he 
was perhaps already favoured, from time to time, with a 
vision, of which we shall speak farther on. This ardent 
devotion of our Saint to the mystery of the altar was 
life-long, and he could have said from one moment to 
another : " I am preparing to offer the Holy Sacrifice; " 
or " I am still making my thanksgiving." 

To deepen these impressions at this critical period 
of his life, Hugh was now to make the acquaintance 
of a holy Archbishop, whose portrait we must rapidly 
sketch in a few words. St. Peter of Tarentaise (1102 
1174) was tne founder and first Abbot of the Cistercian 
Monastery of Tanne", and became afterwards Archbishop 
of Tarentaise. So great was his humility, that before 
he could be induced to accept this dignity, the positive 
commands of several Abbots of his Order, and of 
St. Bernard himself, had to be laid upon him to obtain 
his consent. It was not his own diocese alone that 
benefited by his zeal and charity ; he was known and 
admired throughout the whole Church as a worker of 
miracles and an ardent defender of the Papacy. 

The people crowded around him, and their faith 


was rewarded by repeated wonders. At Saint-Claude, 
where he was detained a long time by the enthusiasm 
of pilgrims from all parts, the crowd was so great, that 
he had to retire into the church-tower, where the two 
stair-cases served to regulate the stream of sick and 
other visitors. Terrified at this ever increasing fame 
and at the veneration which accompanied it, he fled 
from his diocese, and concealed himself in a monastery 
in Germany. But he was soon discovered there by his 
devoted flock and brought back in triumph. Shortly 
afterwards, in 1159, the schism of Octavien took place. 
The partizans of Frederick Barbarossa set up Cardinal 
Octavien, under the title of Victor IV., in opposition to 
the true Pope, Alexander III., who had just been 
enthroned. In spite of the Imperial manifesto, which 
threatened all Bishops who were faithful to their duty 
with banishment, St. Peter of Tarentaise did not 
hesitate to defend the cause of the lawful Pontiff. He 
travelled through Alsace, Burgundy, Lorraine, and 
Italy, to champion the liberty of the Church, and put 
an end to the schism which was harassing her. He 
had even the courage to face the Emperor himself, and 
to say to him : " You must cease persecuting the 
Church and her Supreme Head ; you must cease 
persecuting the priests and Religious, the people and 
the cities, who favour the cause of the lawful Pope. 
He is a king appointed to rule over all kings, and you 
will have to give an account of your conduct to him." 

The Emperor received these remonstrances of the 
holy man with respect, beholding the miracles which 
confirmed his Divine commission. And to those who 
were astonished at his condescension, he replied: "I 
can oppose mortal men, it is true, because they deserve 
it ; but I cannot declare openly against God." 1 

1 The Bollandists, Acta Sanctorum, May 8th. The Life of St Peter of 
Tarentaise, by M, l'Abb6 Chevray, may also be consulted. 


St. Peter had a special affection for the Carthusians, 
an affection hereditary in his family, and the schism 
had served to draw the two Orders still closer together, 
both being supporters of Alexander III. Faithful to 
the spirit of their holy Father, who had quitted his 
beloved solitude to assist Blessed Urban II., the 
Carthusians had always maintained their devotion 
for the Head of the Church. Landuin, the first 
successor of St. Bruno, died from the wounds inflicted 
upon him by the hired assassins of an Antipope. And 
later on, the adhesion of the Carthusians to the cause 
of Innocent II. was cited by St. Bernard as a decisive 
argument in favour of that Pontiff. 1 St. Anthelmus kept 
up this noble tradition, employing all his efforts to have 
Alexander III. recognized by the houses of his Order; 
and although he had ceased to fill the post of General 
of the Carthusians, he succeeded in his endeavours, 
with the assistance of another good monk called Dom 
Geoffrey, a former Prior of Mont-Dieu. 2 

St. Peter of Tarentaise exercised the same influence 
in the Cistercian Order as St. Anthelmus had exerted 
among the Carthusians, and it was to their united efforts 
that Alexander III. owed his final triumph. It is not 
surprising, therefore, that the holy Archbishop, espe- 
cially towards the end of his life, made repeated visits 
to the Grande Chartreuse, where he frequently passed 
several months in solitude. It was there he found a 
congenial repose from the cares and fatigues of his 
ministry, and delighted in the society of those who 
could understand and share all his sentiments. He 
treated Dom Basil as his friend and consulted him 
about his affairs, whenever it was necessary. We 
have from his hand a charter, drafted at the Grande 
Chartreuse in 1170, in which he arranges certain 

1 Works of St. Bernard, vol. vii. p. 591. 
* Dom Le Couteulx, Annales Ord. Cartus, vol. ii. p. 189. 


divisions of land which he had made for the canons 
of his church, " having come to this decision," he says, 
" by the advice of the Carthusians." This Act was 
read in the cloister of the Grande Chartreuse, in 
presence of the Prior and his monks : and was 
approved by Amadeus, procurator of the Order, and 
by William his nephew, both of them formerly canons 
of Tarentaise. 1 

At this time, if not earlier, Hugh was selected for 
the charitable office he had twice before so well ful- 
filled, and that was, to take care of the holy Archbishop, 
whose great age and infirmity rendered such attention 
necessary, and whose strength was ruined by continual 
austerities. It was the association of two Saints, for 
their mutual edification and encouragement. 

Hugh used to wash the feet of the Archbishop, and 
would have kissed them reverently, if the holy old man 
had not refused him permission to do this. He neglected 
nothing that was for the comfort of his charge, and 
when all bodily wants were attended to, his next 
endeavour was to give pleasure to the mind. "Whether 
it was a question of tracing a quotation or of finding a 
book in the monastery library, he .was always ready, 
and always successful in his search. The Old and 
New Testaments, the Lives of the Saints, the writings 
of the Fathers of the Church, nothing was unknown 
to him. When he listened to the words of the Arch- 
bishop, it was with charming docility ; when he spoke 
in his turn, it was with brightness, and always to the 
point. . . . Every day he asked for the prelate's bene- 
diction and absolution, who gave both gladly, and 
who took pleasure in communicating to him the spiritual 
riches he had acquired, omitting nothing that could 

1 Besson, Me 'moires pour I' Histoire Eccltsiastiquc des Dioceses dt 
Geneve, Tarentaise, et Maurienne. New Edition, pp. 353 355. 


sanctify the ynunij priest, and through him, a vast 
number of souls." l 

Their pious conversations were continued in the 
open air, when the aged prelate walked, leaning on the 
arm of his faithful companion ; and long afterwards 
the rustic seat was shown on which they rested on their 
way back to the monastery a simple plank of wood 
between two tall pine-trees standing near each other. 

St. Hugh used to relate, in after years, how, when 
at night time, he assisted the Archbishop into his bed, 
and arranged the bed coverings, he always heard him 
utter this last prayer before composing himself to rest : 
" Grant, Lord, we beseech Thee, as a reward for the 
thanks we offer Thee for all Thy benefits, a more 
abundant outpouring of Thy favours." 2 

St. Peter of Tarentaise died in 1174, while he was 
trying to bring about a reconciliation between the 
Kings of England and France, by command of the 
Pope. When he was canonized, in 1191, by Celes- 
tine III., St. Hugh was already following his example, 
exhorting and directing princes, and struggling man- 
fully for the liberty of the Church. 

1 Magna Vita. bk. i. ch. 13. 

* " Praesta quassumus Domine ut de perceptis muneribus gratias exhi- 
bentes beneficia potiora sumamus." This is a Post-Communion prayer 
which occurs in slightly varying forms in the Roman Missal, and is now 
used for the Common of a Confessor Pontifex. [Eo.] 



1173 1180. 

HUGH had been ten years a Carthusian, when the 
important office of Procurator was conferred upon him. 
His predecessor in these functions, a holy Religious 
called Guigo, was elected Prior in 1173, when Dom 
Basil resigned his post as Superior, doubtless that he 
might prepare for death in solitude and recollection. 
Guigo II., as we will call him, to distinguish him from 
the author of the Constitutions, chose St. Hugh to 
succeed him as Procurator. It was a choice that 
pleased the whole monastery, and the boundless con- 
fidence which the new Prior reposed in his Procurator, 
shows us how worthy St. Hugh was, and how well he 
fulfilled his duties. 

Guigo II., called the Angel, on account of his great 
piety, was a worthy successor of Dom Basil, and gave 
his monks a bright example of fervour and religious 
perfection. He occupied himself as little as possible 
with worldly affairs, and spent most of his time in 
prayer and contemplation. For this reason, he resigned 
his post of General of the Order, in 1180, and died the 
death of a saint eight years afterwards. The miracles 
which took place at his tomb brought such vast crowds 
of sick persons to the monastery, that the peace of the 
Religious was troubled by them. His successor, Dom 
Jancelin, therefore, ordered the Saint to work no more 



miracles, and we are told that his command was 
obeyed, and that the miracles at once ceased. 

Immediately after his nomination as Procurator, 
Hugh took up his abode in the lower house, where the 
quarters of the lay-brothers were situated, as they, 
henceforth, were to be his special charge. 

From its first foundation, the Order of Carthusians 
had comprised two distinct classes of monks, the choir 
Religious and the lay-brothers. Even among the six 
first companions of St. Bruno there were two lay- 
brothers, Andrew and Guerin; and others, who felt that 
they were called to a less contemplative vocation than 
that of the choir monks, soon joined them. These 
good Brothers were of the greatest service to the 
monastery, as they cultivated the land, took care of 
the flocks and herds, and followed many useful trades. 
They lived under a Rule adapted to their exterior 
occupations, and shared, as much as possible, in the 
prayers and penances of their choir-brethren. Their 
virtue and piety are attested by St. Bruno in a letter 
addressed by him to the monks of the Grande Char- 
treuse, during his retirement in Calabria. 

After congratulating the whole community on their 
progress in perfection, the holy patriarch continues : 
" Now I have something to say to you also, my beloved 
lay-brothers. My soul magnifies the Lord when I 
consider the immensity of His mercy towards you, 
worthy imitators, as you are, of the virtues of your 
Prior. That loving Father is delighted to be able to 
praise you so highly to me. Let us rejoice with him 
that, although you have never been initiated in worldly 
learning, your hearts possess not only the love of God, 
but a knowledge of His sacred law, which He Himself 
has written there. Your good works show that you 
know Him, and love Him. Your obedience is perfect, 
and obedience is the accomplishment of the commands 


of God, the key and the seal of all religious discipline ; 
obedience is always accompanied by deep humility, 
and continual patience, by the love of God, and by true 
charity to all. Since you practise this virtue of obedi- 
ence in such perfection, it is a proof that you have 
gathered the sweetest and most profitable fruits of the 
Holy Spirit." 

Amongst those to whom these precious words of 
the holy founder were addressed, there may perhaps 
have been a young lay-brother who actually survived 
St. Bruno more than a century, dying in 1204. St. Hugh's 
biographer speaks of him at some length on account of 
his intimate association with our Saint both at the 
Grande Chartreuse and at Witham. We will give a 
short account here of what he says of this Religious, 
for nothing can afford a clearer insight into the life 
and virtues of the early Carthusian lay-brothers. 

Brother Aynard for such was the name of the holy 
man had taken an active part in the foundation of 
several monasteries, and in many countries his zeal 
and courage, added to his faith and charity, had drawn 
upon him the admiration of all. One instance alone 
will give an idea of this. When he was in Spain, 
assisting in the new foundation at Scala Dei, in the 
diocese of Tarragona, he formed a great friendship with 
two pious hermits of the neighbourhood. The Saracens 
suddenly invaded that part of the country, and after 
fearful carnage, carried off many prisoners, among 
whom were the two friends of Brother Aynard. He 
could not rest until he had obtained permission to go 
and search for them in Africa. He discovered them at 
last, and was so successful in ingratiating himself with 
their master, a rich and powerful man, that he obtained 
their freedom without paying any ransom. During his 
stay in the midst of these Mahometans, he fearlessly 
denounced their errors, and declared the truths of the 


Catholic religion. " And this he did with so much 
authority, that no one dared to contradict him ; and as 
soon as he began to speak, he was listened to with the 
greatest veneration and respect. His white hair, his 
powerful voice, his flashing eyes, and the terrible 
accents in which he denounced sin and oppression, no 
less than his kindness and gentleness on other occa- 
sions, made him revered, even by the enemies of his 
faith." 1 

At the time when St. Hugh was appointed Procu- 
rator, Brother Aynard was at the Grande Chartreuse, 
resting from the fatigues of his many journeys. He 
was then already nearly a hundred years old, but he 
was still so hale and vigorous, that he was selected, in 
the year 1174, to * Denmark, and assist in estab- 
lishing the Carthusian monastery at Lunden. It was 
then that the following occurrence took place, which 
well illustrates the strict discipline under which the 
sons of Bruno lived. 

The order to set out upon this expedition was com- 
municated in full Chapter to Brother Aynard, who, we 
know not why, had conceived a terrible idea of the 
barbarity of the Danes. Alarmed at this unexpected 
mission, the old man threw himself at the feet of his 
Prior, and begged to remain where he was. But hi 
presence appeared to be so necessary at Lunden, that 
his prayer could not be -granted. For a moment his 
courage failed him, and he allowed his repugnance to 
get the better of the duty he owed his Superior. 
Although he accompanied his refusal to obey with 
expressions of the deepest sorrow, he was nevertheless 
treated as a rebel, and in spite of his great age and 
innumerable services, he was banished from the monas- 
tery. Before he was received into favour again, he had 
to brave the severity of a bitter winter, and travel from 

1 .\fngna Vita, bk. iv. ch. 13. 


one Carthusian monastery to another, begging for pardon, 
and for letters of recommendation from the Priors of 
the Order. On his return to the Grande Chartreuse, 
he still had to perform another penance imposed upon 
him, and was afterwards sent, not to Denmark, but to 
England, where we shall find him at Witham, with 
St. Hugh. There he was brought into close contact 
with the future Bishop, who always manifested a great 
veneration for Brother Aynard, and even called him his 
father, as we shall hear him relate later on. 

The new Procurator maintained a firm hand of 
authority over the lay-brothers, several of whom, being 
of noble birth, found a difficulty at first in obeying, 
instead of commanding. He took as his guide the 
example of St. Honoratus, Archbishop of Aries : " On 
the one hand, he forced the slothful to rise from their 
tepidity ; and on the other, he restrained the ardour of 
those who were too fervent, and gave peace to their 
souls." All the Religious under his charge soon enrolled 
themselves in the last category. For we are told : 
" These lay-brothers walked in the footsteps of the 
choir monks, and imitated them as far as their vocation 
allowed. Without literary knowledge, they yet under- 
stood the sense of the lessons of the Divine Office. 
Many of them were so well acquainted with the words 
of the Old and New Testament, that if the reader made 
a mistake, they were aware of it at once, and if they 
thought they might take the liberty would cough to 
draw his attention to it." 1 

St. Hugh deeply regretted the calm of his solitary 
cell ; he had only left it through obedience ; but this 
regret did not hinder him from faithfully fulfilling all 
the duties of his office. In the temporal affairs, which 
were now his province, he displayed a rare prudence, 
and an accuracy of judgment which made his advice 
1 Magna Vita, bk. i. ch. 10. 


valuable to all. Those who consulted him on any 
matter never had cause to regret their decisions. But 
when he had ceased speaking of temporal things, he 
always ended by turning the conversation upon those 
which are eternal, and so lifted the souls of his hearers 
above the interests of this world to the thought of Heaven. 

He practised the advice given in the Constitutions 
to the monk who should hold the office of Procurator : 
44 Although the Procurator must in some degree follow 
the example of Martha, and be occupied with many 
cares, let him not altogether neglect the silence and 
peace of the cloister. On the contrary, when the 
necessary business of the house has been attended to, 
let him retire to his cell, and there find a safe refuge, 
where he can read, pray, and meditate, forget the 
agitation and anxiety of his exterior duties, and prepare 
in the secret of his heart for the spiritual advice he will 
have to give to the brethren assembled in Chapter." l 

In addition to the care of the lay-brothers and 
servants of the monastery, it was the duty of the 
Procurator also to welcome and entertain the numerous 
guests, who already, even in those days, began to visit 
the lower house. He met them, saluted them, showed 
them the rooms appointed for their use, unless he 
considered them worthy of being admitted into the 
monastery itself, a privilege which for a long time was 
granted only to Bishops and monks. Strangers received 
a most favourable impression of his courtesy and kind- 
ness, which soon became famous. But, penetrated as 
he was with the spirit of the Gospel, he had a special 
predilection for the poor, who well knew their way to 
the Grande Chartreuse. He joyfully distributed the 
alms permitted by the Rule, and when he was unable 
to supply all their wants, spoke to them in words so 
touching and consoling, that they recalled the language 

1 L'unsueludines Guigonis, eh. xvi. 


of Holy Scripture : " Shall not the dew assuage the 
heat ? so also the good word is better than the gift." * 
The gentle kindness of St. Hugh did not stop here. 
It was extended even to the birds and squirrels of the 
forest. He knew how to tame them by his voice ; they 
came round him fearlessly and took food from his hand, 
while he was making his own meal. It cost him some- 
thing to relinquish this custom, when it was forbidden 
by his Prior, who thought it might be a cause of dis- 
traction. 2 

Notwithstanding his numerous exterior occupations, 
he had obtained such command over himself, that he 
could enter into recollection immediately, at will. 
When he mounted the steps leading from the lower 
house, and came into the monastery choir for Divine 
Office on Sundays and feast-days, he took off his cloak 
before entering the church, and said, playfully, to his 
manifold cares : " Stay here with my cloak ; when 
Office is over, I will take you all up again." 3 

He would gladly have been delivered altogether 
from these cares and allowed to return to the peace of 
his cell, but his administration was too successful for 
this favour to be granted. The whole country rang 
with his praises. The venerable Prior Guigo never 
ceased congratulating himself on the possession of such 
a treasure, and delegated to him a substantial part of the 
burthens of administration. To the monks and lay- 
brothers his instructions, practical as they were and 
full of fire and unction, were a treat eagerly looked 
forward to, and alike among rich visitors and among 
the poor of the surrounding district, his name was held 
in benediction. He had spent about seven years in 
his post of Procurator, and was about forty years of 
age, when he was again assailed by the same terrible 

Ecclus. xviii. 16. 2 Giraldus Camb. ii. i. Vita Metrica, vv. 344 351. 
3 Sutor, De Vita Cartusiana, bk. ii. 3 5. 


temptation which had before tormented him. The 
direct action of the devil was plainly to be seen, and 
our Saint suffered so fearfully under his continual and 
renewed attacks, that it almost cost him his life. 
Nevertheless, he did not lose hope, but went on 
struggling manfully, imploring the help of God, 
redoubling his prayers and penances, and seeking 
assistance from the sacraments. At last, through the 
mercy of God, his deliverance came. 

One night, sleepless in his lonely cell, still tempted, 
and still fighting with the angel of darkness, still almost 
driven to despair, and still calling upon his crucified 
Lord to help him, he sank, as the dawn approached, 
for a few moments into the sleep of utter exhaustion. 
Thereupon, he saw, coming towards him, the radiant 
form of his old Prior, Dom Basil, who had died a few 
days before. 1 In a sweet voice, the glorified Saint said 
to Hugh : " My son, what are you doing there prostrate 
and exhausted on the floor ? Rise and tell me with 
confidence what is your necessity." " Oh, my good 
Father," replied the sufferer, " you who have always 
shown me such kindness, come to my help in this 
terrible temptation, or I shall die." " Yes, my son," 
said Dom Basil, " I have come, on purpose to deliver 
you." At these words of his Heaven-sent physician, 
Hugh felt that the wounds of his soul were healed. 
When the blessed vision had disappeared, he awoke, 
and the temptation was gone. 2 His strength returned, 

1 The text of the Magna Vita followed by Mr. Dimock reads, ante 
aliquot annos "a few years before " This must be wrong, and the copy 
used by Dom Le Couteulx has dies. Mr. Dimock further supposes that 
Dom Basil died in 1173. He resigned his office in 1173, but lived until 
1179. This fact completely upsets Mr. Dimock's chronology, and is 
referred to below in the note to bk. i. ch. 9. [ED.] 

Magna Vita, bk. . ch. 2. Another writer, St. Hugh's chaplain tells 
tnbuted the same miraculous cure to an apparition of the Blessed 
B, but the holy Bishop of Lincoln himself related it to his biographer 
as it is given here. 


his hopes revived, and so complete was the cure, that 
in after years he told a friend and confidant, that he 
had never again been assailed by that especial tempta- 
tion, or assailed so very slightly, that he was able at 
once to recognize and overcome it. 

Only a few days after this wonderful deliverance, 
some noble ambassadors from England, headed by the 
Bishop of Bath, arrived at the Grande Chartreuse. 
They were the bearers of letters from the King of 
England, Henry II., demanding our Saint as Prior of 
the new Carthusian monastery at Witham. 

God had humbled His servant, that He might 
afterwards exalt him. He had convinced St. Hugh of 
his own nothingness, to make of him the instrument 
of His mercy. St. James tells us : " Blessed is the man 
that endureth temptation : for when he hath been 
proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which God 
hath promised to them that love Him." 1 

1 St. James i. 12. 



THERE were already more than thirty Carthusian 
foundations in France, in Italy, in Switzerland, in 
Spain, in Austria, and in Denmark. When it was the 
will of God to introduce the holy sons of St. Bruno 
into England, He made use, as His instrument, of a 
monarch who was the persecutor of one of His greatest 
Saints. The foundation of Witham is intimately con- 
nected with the death of that brave martyr for the 
liberty of the Church, St. Thomas of Canterbury. 
Thus, from his blood, and doubtless through his inter- 
cession, there sprang into being a noble progeny to 
inherit his sacrifice, and to perpetuate his inviolable 
attachment to the cause of Jesus Christ. 

While the holy Archbishop was in the midst of his 
struggle against the tyranny of Henry II., he had had 
the consolation of seeing the sons of St. Bruno declare 
in his favour. They were men who cared little for the 
favour of princes when truth and justice were at stake. 
Accordingly Dom Basil, then Prior of the Grande 
Chartreuse, wrote in his own name and in the name 
of his religious brethren, the following letter, which 
deserves a place in history : 

11 To Henry, King of England, the Brothers of the 
Carthusian Order. 

"To the most excellent and valiant King of the 


English, whom they desire to embrace in the charity 
of Christ, the Carthusian Brothers, who aspire to be 
poor in spirit, express their hope that he may so reign 
in this world, that he may obtain an eternal crown. 

u The holy man Job, seated like a King in the midst 
of his armed men, was nevertheless the consoler of the 
afflicted. As to you, O Prince ! the King of kings and 
Lord of lords has opened His hand, and multiplied 
your possessions, therefore, you must always remember 
that awful menace of Holy Scripture : ' To him that is 
little, mercy is granted : but the mighty shall be mightily 
tormented.' l And the Psalmist exclaims : ' Glory to 
Him that is terrible, even to Him who taketh away the 
spirit of princes : to the terrible with the kings of the 
earth.' 2 

" We hear on all sides, by public rumour alike from 
the east and from the west, that you are laying a heavy 
and intolerable burden upon the churches of your 
kingdom, and that you require of them unheard-of 
things, things without precedent, or at least, things 
which the kings who have reigned before you ought 
never to have insisted upon, although they may some- 
times have claimed them. 3 It may be perhaps, that in 
your time, and on account of the wisdom which God 
has given you, the evils of such a grievous affliction 
may be moderated to a certain extent ; but after your 
death, another king may arise, who will devour the 
Church with open mouth, and who will harden his 
heart as Pharaoh did, saying : I know not the Lord ; 
neither will I let Israel go. 

" Spare, we beseech you, spare your kingly dignity, 
spare your greatness, spare your royal line, spare the 

1 Wisdom vi. 7. 2 Psalm Ixxv. 13. 

3 ' ' Ecclesias regni vestri intolerabiliter affligitis, et exigitis ab eis inaudita 
quaedam et inconsueta, quae, si quaesierunt, quasrere tamen non debuissent 
antiqui Reges." (From the Letters of St. Thomas of Canterbury, bk. ii. 
letter 70.) The grievances of the Saint are well summed up in these lines. 


honour of your name. You, to whom nothing is want- 
.md whose power is so vast, do not leave to your 
descendants an example of tyranny; look with pitying 
eyes upon the grief and desolation of the Holy Church, 
which is now almost everywhere trampled underfoot, 
and console her affliction, like a King, ceasing not to 
defend and protect her." 

This generous proceeding and noble language recalls 
to our minds the zeal of the first hermits, who, on the 
approach of persecution, quitted their beloved deserts, 
to undertake the defence of the truth and to remonstrate 
eloquently and powerfully with the heathen Emperors. 

Those who knew so well how to write their com- 
plaints, were considered worthy to plead the cause of 
the Church by word of mouth. Alexander III. having 
in vain sent two Cardinals to appease the anger of the 
King, thought it would be better to try another kind of 
mediation, which based its hopes of success upon the 
personal holiness of the mediators. He therefore 
addressed himself to St. Anthelmus, 1 then Bishop of 
Belley, and to the General of the Carthusians, Dom 
Basil, and instructed them to deliver to Henry II. two 
letters, one of which was couched in more indulgent 
terms, while the other contained a formal threat to 
allow the Archbishop of Canterbury to put in force all 
canonical penalties against the King and his advisers. 
This second letter was only to be delivered in case the 
first had no effect. 

At the same time the Sovereign Pontiff, fearing lest 
this deputation might be delayed or prevented by 
unforeseen circumstances from reaching its destination, 

1 St. Anthelmus, who was also a Carthusian, had been one of St. Hugh s 
cessors in the office of Procurator at the Grande Chartreuse. After 
that he became General of the Order, and later still, Bishop of Belley. 
He died in 1 178. -[ED.] 


sent the same letters with the same instructions to two 
other Carthusians, Dom Simon, Prior of Mont-Dieu, 1 
and Dom Engelbert, Prior of Val-Saint-Pierre. 2 These 
were the two Religious who executed the orders of the 
Pope, with as much firmness as prudence. They in- 
formed Alexander III. of the result of their endeavours 
in a letter which runs thus : " In conformity with the 
commands of Your Holiness, we delivered your letters 
of admonition to the illustrious King of England, 
imploring him earnestly to obey your instructions, to 
receive the Archbishop of Canterbury again into his 
favour, to restore to him the peaceful possession of his 
see, and to allow him to govern his Church without 
interference. We waited a long time in hope, praying 
God to touch the heart of the King. At last, seeing 
that all our patience was in vain, we executed your 
orders and on the occasion of an interview between 
the two monarchs (of France and England) we delivered 
to the King of England your letter threatening him 
with excommunication." 

Henry II. would only make evasive replies to the 
envoys of the Holy See, but he was not offended by 
their courageous attitude, and conceived a high esteem 
for the Order to which they belonged. 

Every one knows the terrible sequel to these events. 
St. Thomas a Becket at last obtained permission from 
the King to return, after his seven years of exile. But 
on hearing of the first energetic measures of the great 
Archbishop, Henry II., in one of the fits of passion 
which were too common with him, exclaimed in the 

1 A Carthusian monastery situated on the River Bar, in the diocese of 
Rheims. St. Thomas of Canterbury had spent some time there before 
these negotiations, and was acquainted with Prior Simon. (See La 
Chartreuse de Mont-Dieu, by the Abbe" J. Gillet, p. 150. Rheims, 1889.) 

2 A Carthusian monastery in the forest of Thie"rache, diocese of 


hearing of his courtiers : " Will no one deliver me from 
the insolence of this priest ? " Acting upon these words, 
four knights of the Court at once set out to satisfy 
what they believed to be the desire of the King ; and 
a few days afterwards, on the evening of the 2gth of 
December, 1170, the holy Archbishop of Canterbury 
fell dead under their repeated blows, saying with his 
last breath : " I am ready to die for the Lord ; may my 
blood give the Church liberty and peace." 

The tomb of the martyr became so famous through 
the numerous miracles which took place there, and 
the indignation of the whole of Europe was so great 
against his murderers, that the King of England had 
no peace until he had done public penance for his 
crime beside the body of his illustrious victim. Then 
the Bishop of London, speaking in his name, protested 
before the assembled crowd that the King had never 
really desired the death of the Primate, but had been 
the cause of it by his hasty and violent words. The 
King afterwards received the discipline in public from 
the hands of the Bishops and monks there present 
(July n, 1174). 

But before this spontaneous act, the Papal Legates 
had required several conditions from Henry II. as the 
price of his reconciliation with God and the Church. 
The first of these was the revocation of the too famous 
Constitutions of Clarendon, which had formed the principal 
cause of his quarrel with St. Thomas of Canterbury. 
Furthermore, the King having made a vow to take the 
cross and visit the Holy Land for three years, and 
being afterwards unable to execute this design, he got 
his vow commuted and founded two Carthusian houses, 
one at Liget in Touraine, the other at Witham in 
England. 1 

Dom I,- Cotit.-ulx, Annales^ an. 1170 and 1178, vol. ii. pp. ^25, 
449. sea. 


The demesne of Witham, situated in the county of 
Somerset, and in the diocese of Bath, was of large 
extent. It was formally made over to the Carthusian 
Order by their own choice, with its lands and forests, 
its pastures and preserves, its possessions and privileges 
of every kind. We still possess the Royal Charter 
which enumerates these several gifts, and which freed 
the monastery from all rents and charges payable to 
the Crown, and from all interference from foresters or 
their subordinates. In this document Henry II. 
declares that " for the good of his soul, and of the 
souls of his predecessors and successors, he builds 
on his demesne of Witham a house of the Order of 
Carthusians, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
of the Blessed John the Baptist, and of All Saints." 
This last title was the one which was to distinguish 
the new foundation. 1 

At the request of the King of England, the first 
colony of monks was sent over from the Grande 
Chartreuse in 1178. It was headed by Dom Norbert, 
and comprised Brother Aynard and Brother Gerard of 

Severe sufferings awaited the little band at Witham. 
No preparations had been made for them, and nothing 
had been done to facilitate the immense labour which 
the new foundation entailed. A thousand unexpected 
privations were added to the austerities of their Rule. 
And to crown their misery, they were received with 

1 The seal of the Charterhouse of Witham represents our Divine Lord 
on the Cross, between the Blessed Virgin and St. Mary Magdalen. A rich 
canopy surmounts this group ; and below, in a niche, appears an abbot 
with his crozier. The legend is this : " s. COE DOMUS BE MARINE D" WITH AM 
ORDINIS CARTHUS," i.e., Sigillum Commune Domus Beatce Maries de 
Witham, Ordinis Carthusiani. For further details of Witham, see 
Monasticon Anglicanum, vol. i. p. 959 ; Pandectce Monasteriorum Anglice ; 
Pits and Bale, De Scriptotibus Britannia, Cent. 2, cap. Ixiii. ; and most 
recently, E, M, Thompson, The Somerset Carthusians, 


mistrust and dislike by their immediate neighbours, who 
feared encroachment from the foreign monks. The 
very site of the proposed monastery was encumbered 
by the houses of serfs and tenants, whose duty it was 
to cultivate the royal demesne. No steps had been 
taken to indemnify these people and settle them else- 
where. To find a little quiet and peace, the poor 
monks were obliged to build for themselves a few 
simple wooden huts in the depths of the forest, which 
they enclosed with a palisade of planks. This tem- 
porary arrangement lasted a long time, before any 
better habitation could be constructed for them. To 
all these hardships was added the inconvenience of 
settling among a strange people, whose manners and 
customs were in many respects at variance with their 
own, and whose blind prejudices and conflicting interests 
prevented them from doing justice to the good intentions 
of the new-comers. 

Dom Norbert, accustomed to the peaceful life of his 
cell, broke down under the weight of all these cares and 
troubles. He soon returned to the Grande Chartreuse, 
by the advice of his brothers in Religion, who hoped to 
see him come back to them again with renewed 
strength and courage, or else to have his place filled by 
another Prior, more fitted for so difficult a position. 
It was this last plan which was adopted at the Grande 
Chartreuse. Dom Norbert was placed at the head of 
another house of the Order, and a new Prior was sent 
to \Vitham. But he had the same vexations to contend 
with, and strength and spirit failing, he died a holy 
death, which released him happily from pain and 
trouble, but left his devoted little band of brothers in 
greater desolation than before. 

The King of England, on hearing of what had 
happened, seems to have been somewhat piqued and mor- 
titicd at this failure of his new foundation. He did not 


like to confess himself baffled in an undertaking in which 
other princes had succeeded. He was ready therefore 
to welcome a piece of advice which was given him about 
that time, and which in the end solved the difficulty. 

While he was on a visit to his possessions in France, 
he entered into conversation with a nobleman of 
Maurienne, 1 to whom he spoke of the Carthusians and 
their embarrassments in the new foundation, and 
asked what would be the best step he could take for 
its success and prosperity. To this the nobleman 
replied : " My Lord King, there is only one way that 
I know of, but I am sure it will prove an effectual 
one. At the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse 
dwells a monk, a man of distinguished family, but 
whose character is still more noble than his birth : 
he is called Hugh of Avalon. He is endowed with 
every virtue, and beloved by all who know him. 
You have only to set eyes upon him to feel drawn 
to become his friend. When he speaks, he is listened 
to as though his words came from God and the 
holy Angels. This is the man whom you must 
get to cultivate and watch over the growing tree of 
your young foundation ; this is the man under whose 
care it will soon bear fruit in abundance. The whole 
Church in England, I am sure, will feel itself ennobled 
by the sanctity of this holy Religious. But I must tell 
you beforehand, that you will have great difficulty in 
inducing his brother-monks to part with him, and he 
himself will never give his consent unless he is con- 
strained by the voice of obedience. You must therefore 

1 In 1173, Humbert III., Count of Maurienne, was one of the arbi- 
trators who endeavoured to compose the differences between Henry II. 
and the Count of St. Giles, the brother of Raymond of Toulouse. On this 
occasion, a treaty of marriage was entered into between Henry's son John, 
who was afterwards King, and Agnes, Humbert's daughter, who died a 
year later in 1174. It is not surprising therefore to find noblemen of 
Maurienne frequenting the English Court. 


send ambassadors who have the tact and energy which 
are needful, and you must use all the influence you can 
bring to bear to gain your end. He is the one man 
who can deliver you from all your anxieties, and who 
will make his holy Order flourish in your kingdom, so 
that it will be a lasting monument to the glory of your 
Majesty. You will find him perfect in sweetness and 
patience, in greatness of soul and consideration for all. 
No one will ever complain of having him as a neighbour ; 
no one will shrink from him as a foreigner ; but every 
one will treat him as a fellow-countryman, as a brother, 
and a friend. For he carries the whole human race 
in his heart, and loves all men with the love of perfect 
charity." 1 

Thus spoke the lord of Maurienne. The King 
listened to him with attention, and thanked him warmly. 
And without losing any time, he acted upon the advice 
he had received, and sent a deputation to the Grande 
Chartreuse. Reginald, surnamed the Lombard, Bishop 
of Bath,' 2 was at their head, and he was accompanied 
by several other persons of high rank, and of great 
wisdom and experience. 

1 Mngna Vita, bk. ii. ch. i. 

a Reginald Fitz-Jocelyn was named Bishop in 1173, and consecrated 
the year following by Richard, Archbishop of Canterbury St. Peter, 
Archbishop of Tarentaise, being present in the Church of Saint-Jean- 
de-Maurienne. He was called the Lombard because he had been 
educated in Lombardy, but he was an Englishman by birth. In 1178, 
he was appointed Papal Legate to deal with the heretics of Toulouse, 
and died in 1192, just as he had been elected Archbishop of Canterbury. 
In the account of Bishop Reginald given in the Dictionary of Xational 
Biography, it is stated that Reginald went to the Grande Chartreuse in 
1174, immediately after his consecration. This must certainly be an error ; 
for the foundation of Witham was only undertaken upon the non-fulfilment 
of the vow of joining the Crusade ; and Henry having obtained a three 
years' respite from the Pope, would seem not to have given up the idea of 
this Crusade before 1177. (See Giraldus Cambrensis, Rolls Series, vol. viii. 
pp. 167170.) It seems probable that Bishop Reginald visited the 
Chartreuse on his way back from the Lateran Council in 1180. (Cf. the 
notice of his life in Archaologict, vol. 1.) [ED.] 



Giraldus Cambrensis, Ralph Niger, and other con- 
temporaries, represent King Henry II. as having sworn 
to found three religious houses in compensation for his 
abandonment of the Crusade imposed as a penance for 
the murder of St. Thomas, and they say nothing of 
the Charterhouse at Liget. Both the two first-named 
writers comment severely upon the scandalous way in 
which, s they allege, Henry evaded the obligation. 
According to them, he made the substitution of regular 
canons for seculars at Waltham count as one founda- 
tion, and for another he expelled the nuns of Amesbury 
upon some charge of irregularity, true or false, and 
replaced them with a colony from Fontevraud. As for 
the third, Giraldus professes not to know which that 
could have been, but supposes it must have been the 
Charterhouse at Witham. Henry II., as we shall see, 
became a devoted admirer and friend of St. Hugh, and 
it cannot be wholly foreign to the purpose of this 
biography to point out that the charge thus made 
against the King, though repeated apparently without 
suspicion by such an historian as Bishop Stubbs, is 
based upon little more than malicious gossip. The 
tradition that both Witham and Liget were founded 
by Henry as part of the penance enjoined upon him 
for the murder of St. Thomas, seems to stand out quite 
clearly in the early Carthusian chronicles. 2 We do not 
know which was the third foundation, but the Index to 
Dugdale's Monasticon shows that there is quite a respect- 
able list of religious houses established by Henry II. in 
England, and even though these are for the most part 

1 See Stubbs, Preface to Benedict of Peterborough (Rolls Series), vol. ii. 
p. xxx. ; and Giraldus Cambrensis (Rolls Series), vol. viii. p. xxvi. and 170. 

2 See the MS. authorities quoted by Dom Le Couteulx (Annales, vol. ii. 
pp. 459, 451), and it must be remembered that Dom Le Couteulx himself 
wrote more than two hundred years ago. . 


small and unimportant, they at least show that Giraldus 
and Ralph Niger are in this matter only retailing 
scandal, not writing serious history. Furthermore, there 
can be no question that Henry II. founded other monas- 
teries in his continental dominions. Dom Le Couteulx, 
for instance, states that he entirely built the Priory of 
St. Julian, near Rouen, which at a later date passed 
into Carthusian hands, and that he is also styled founder 
of the Cistercian Abbey of Valasse, in the same diocese. 
With regard to the Charterhouse of Le Liget (de 
Ligeto), near Loches in Touraine, we are told that at 
the end of the last century the following inscription 
might be read over the principal door of the monastery : 

Anglorum Henricus Rex Thomae caede cruentus 
Ligeticos fundat Carthusiae monachos. 

Although there has been some controversy about 
the exact date of the foundation, 1 M. Carre de Busserolle 
agrees in thinking that although the Carthusians may 
have had the idea of establishing themselves there as 
early as 1170, the actual foundation was not made 
before 1 178.2 Two charters are preserved connecting 
this establishment with Henry II. The first is a grant 
made by Harvey, Abbot of Villeloin, at the instance of 
Henry II., bestowing upon the Carthusians the territory 
of Liget, cum ptrtinenciis suis. The document mentions 
that in return for this cession of land, the King of 
England had paid to the Abbot a sum of one hundred 
pounds, and had released him from the burthen of 
furnishing two hawks. This deed seems to belong to 
the year 1178. Somewhat later, about the year 1187, 
we have another instrument drawn up in the name of 
Henry 1 1. .confirming the Carthusians in the possession 

1 i'f. Dom. Le Couteulx, Annates Ordinis Carthusiani, vol. ii. p. 452. 
a Dictionnaire Gtographiquc, Historigue, &c. de la Province de 
Touraine, vol. iv. pp. 53, seq. 


of this territory, and releasing them from all dues and 
services which had formerly been paid upon it. This 
foundation of Le Liget was afterwards confirmed by 
King John in 1199. 

The unfairness of Giraldus' account of Henry's 
religious foundations has previously been noticed by 
Miss Kate Norgate, England under the Anglian Kings, 
vol. ii. p. 198, note. But I should be curious to know 
on what authority she states that " throughout his 
whole dominions only six religious houses in the strict 
sense could claim him as their founder." She certainly 
does not include in this list the Priory of St. Julian and 
the Abbey of Valasse. [ED.] 


1 1 80. 

Tin- Ambassadors from the King of England took the 
precaution of securing the assistance of the Venerable 
Bishop of Grenoble, who was also a Carthusian ; his 
name was Jean de Sassenage. 1 They persuaded him to 
accompany them to the Grande Chartreuse, and to lend 
his support to the request they were commissioned to 

As soon as they arrived at the monastery, they 
presented the Prior with letters from the King, solicit- 
ing the despatch of St. Hugh to England. To this 
written message they added the strongest and most 
persuasive words. But, in spite of their eloquence, 
they perceived that their request caused the deepest 
sorrow to the whole community. The Prior especially 
was very much distressed, and asked that time might 
be given him to deliberate upon the course which he 
ought to adopt. 

A consultation in full Chapter was then held, in 
which the opinion of each individual monk was taken. 
The Prior, Dom Guigo, who spoke first, made formal 
opposition to the King's request. As to the rest of the 

1 Jeande Sassenage was appointed Bishop in 1156, and died in 1219. 
To the end he displayed the same spirit of piety and gentleness which is 
so highly commended by St. Hugh's biographer : /><// piissimus tt 
monac/iut -c.tlde h.-ntslns ft ///</;/* //<///. (.l/,/ A v/,/ 1'ita, bk. ii. c. 4. C'f. 
Le Couteulx, Annales Ord. Curtfius, vol. iii. p. 436.) 


monks, opinions were divided. Some were unwilling 
that a man of so much merit should be sent out of the 
country, as they considered him to be more useful to 
the Order at large by remaining where he was ; others 
declared that the King's demand had been inspired by 
God, and that it was not prudent to return a refusal. 
Among these last was Dom Bovo, who succeeded 
Hugh later on, as Prior of Witham, 1 and who gave 
an account of all these events to the Saint's biographer. 
" Do you not see," said Dom Bovo, " that Providence 
is thus disposing all things, to make the sanctity of our 
Order shine forth throughout the world, in the person 
of our beloved brother ? Do not imagine that it will be 
possible for us to keep him hidden here much longer, 
under the bushel of our obscurity ? Believe me, in a 
very short time you will hear of his being placed on a 
candlestick, as a bright and shining light, and illumi- 
nating the whole Church. The virtues of Dom Hugh 
have accustomed me for a long time to look upon him 
as a Bishop, rather than a monk." 

At last Hugh himself was asked for his opinion, and 
told to speak freely. He replied thus : " I have learned 
to renounce my own will, and to look on it as of no 
account, but since you ask me what I think, I will tell 
you frankly. Since I have been in this holy house, 
where your admonitions and example have helped me 
so greatly, I have not been able, for one single day, to 
govern my own soul. How can you then suggest that 
I should be sent away from you, into a strange land, to 
govern the souls of others ? How can I found a new 
Chartreuse, when I have not been able myself to keep 
the precepts of our Fathers ? If you will allow me to tell 
you respectfully what I think, I will say that such a 

1 Dom Bovo was Prior of Witham until 1200. He then retired to the 
Grande Chartreuse, and died there shortly afterwards, on the loth of 
December. He had been a Carthusian for more than fifty years, 


proposal cannot be seriously entertained for a moment, 
ami that there is nothing in it which calls for delibe- 
ration like this. Let there be an end of the matter as 
far as I am concerned, but do you, my brothers, hasten 
to choose, either from among yourselves, or from some 
other community of our Order, a man who will be 
capable of doing all the King requires : send him to 
England with the Ambassadors. Make a wise reply to 
these wise envoys ; tell them that you are giving them 
a better gift than they have asked for, and that, instead 
of the man whom they named by mistake, you are 
sending them the one they would really have chosen, 
had they known of him. In this way their desires will 
be satisfied, and they will rejoice at the exchange." 

This humble answer, far from having the desired 
effect, only served to show Hugh's virtue to greater 
advantage. The two Bishops and their companions 
persevered in their request, and finally succeeded in 
persuading all, with the exception of the Prior. The 
Saint, therefore, saw but one way of escaping from the 
arguments brought to bear against him ; he said that 
he would be guided by the decision of his Prior, who, 
as he knew, would never willingly let him go. The 
Bishop of Grenoble then took Dom Guigo on one side, 
and implored him to consent to this sacrifice. " God 
is my witness," replied he, "that such a sentence 
shall never pass my lips. Never will I command Dom 
Hugh to abandon me in my old age, and to plunge our 
whole community into mourning." But at last, overcome 
by the repeated petitions of all, the Prior turned to the 
Bishop of Grenoble and said : " I can never willingly 
send Dom Hugh from me, but I leave the matter in 
your hands ; do as you will, and I will abide by your 
decision. You are our Bishop, our Father, and our 
Brother. If you command him to depart, I will make 
no further opposition." 


He could say no more, for tears choked his 
utterance, and all those present shared the emotion 
which he felt. But a decision had to be come to, and 
the Bishop of Grenoble was urged to speak his mind. 
" My beloved brethren," said this venerable prelate, 
" it is not for me to teach you the ways of God. You 
know them better than I, and your lives are the proof 
of it. And so I will only recall to your remembrance an 
event in the life of the great St. Benedict, which will 
show you how those who have gone before you have 
acted under the like circumstances. When the blessed 
Bertram, Bishop of Le Mans, induced St. Benedict to 
send him his especially loved son St. Maurus, to under- 
take the foundation of a new monastery, there was the 
same deep grief and the same reluctance on the part of 
his brothers in Religion to part with Maurus as you are 
now experiencing. But St. Benedict gently reproved 
them for their display of feeling, and he pointed out 
that it was wrong to grieve over the will of the Divine 
Master. ' Beware,' said he, * do not give way to your 
sorrow. It may be that, in combating this choice, you 
are only setting yourselves in opposition to Almighty 
God Himself.' 1 

" For you, my beloved brother Hugh, the moment 
has come when you must follow Him in whose foot- 
steps you have always desired to tread. The only Son 
of the Eternal Father, quitting the ineffable tranquillity 
He enjoyed in the bosom of the Blessed Trinity, clothed 
Himself in our human nature for the salvation of the 
world. You also must make the sacrifice of your quiet 
cell, and of the companionship of the brothers whom 
you love. Do not hesitate to make it bravely, for the 
sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. He will reward you 
after this exile, in His Kingdom of perfect happiness 
and rest. In His name, I, His unworthy servant, 

i Cf. Bollandists, Acta Sanctorum, January isth. 


command you to depart, for His greater glory, for the 
remission of your sins, and for your everlasting welfare. 
I command you formally, in virtue of holy obedience, to 
accept the charge that is laid upon you. Depart in 
peace, with these venerable Ambassadors who have 
come so far to seek you. Go to England, to build up 
and govern our new foundation at Witham." 

Perceiving that the Bishop's decision was un- 
alterable, Hugh, without another word, embraced his 
brothers in Religion, and placed himself at the dis- 
position of the English ambassadors. 

A few days after he was presented to Henry II., 
who received him very graciously, and sent him with 
an honourable escort to Witham. There he was 
welcomed with great joy by the suffering monks, who 
looked upon him as an angel of God, sent for their 
deliverance. And their hopes were not doomed to 
disappointment on this occasion, for from that day 
the monastery of Witham was to be all that its name 
implied. Witham, as Hugh's contemporary biographer 
reminds us, is wit-home, " the house of wisdom." He 
who was henceforth to be the guide and Superior 
there, was "a truly wise Christian, and he was destined 
to draw to himself other wise souls whose thoughts and 
aspirations were fixed upon Heaven alone." 1 


While it is not compatible with the scope of the 
present work to enter at any length into questions of 
chronology, it seems desirable to justify the date which 
the author of the Life here translated has prefixed to 
tliis chapter. There can be no reasonable doubt that 
Mr. Dimock, in fixing upon the year 1175 as the epoch 
of St. Hugh's coming to Witham, has fallen into a 
1 Magna Vita, book ii. c. 5. 


somewhat serious error, and that the Saint did not 
really set foot in England until nearly five years later. 
In this mistake Mr. Dimock has been followed by all 
subsequent English writers by Canon Perry, Miss 
Thompson, the contributors to the Dictionary of National 
Biography, &c. ; but they seem to have accepted his 
conclusions without examining the evidence, and the 
data now available from several independent sources 
may be considered to put the year 1175 entirely out of 

1. The foundation of Witham was undertaken as 
a commutation of Henry's promise to go to the Holy 
Land. The period assigned for the fulfilment of this 
enterprise was the three years which began with 
Christmas, H72. 1 It is distinctly asserted by Giraldus 
and others that after the three years had elapsed (elapso 
triennio), and Henry had as yet taken no step to set out 
on the Crusade, he obtained a further delay from the 
Pope upon his binding himself to erect three religious 
houses. 2 This would have been after the beginning of 
1176, and it is not likely that the man whom Giraldus 
calls dilator in omnibus will even then have been in any 
hurry to perform his promise. Moreover, after the 
Carthusians had come to Witham, two different Priors 
broke down before St. Hugh was sent there. 

2. The vision of Prior Basil, who supernaturally 
aided St. Hugh in his grievous temptation, took place 
before the Saint left the Grande Chartreuse. Now, 
Prior Basil died in ii7g 3 (not 1173, as stated in Mr. 
Dimock's note, p. 58), and the MS. of the Magna Vita 
which Dom Le Couteulx had before him, states that 

1 Materials for the History of Thomas Becket, vol. vii. p. 517. 

2 Giraldus Cambrensis, vol. viii. p. 170. 

3 This date seems, from Dom Le Couteulx's Annales, vol. ii. p. 465, to 
be established upon independent evidence by the early chroniclers of the 


the vision occurred a few days, not years, as in Mr. 
Dimock's text, after his death. 

3. A document in the Bruton Cartulary assigns the 
foundation of Witham Priory to the twenty-eighth year 
of Henry !!.,*.., uSi. 1 This can be reconciled with 
the supposition that Hugh came to England in 1180, 
but hardly with his arrival five years earlier. 

4. Although the Charter of the foundation of Witham 
is not dated, it gives the names of the witnesses, and 
amongst these are to be found the names of William, 
Bishop of Norwich, and Prince John. Now, William 
of Norwich was not consecrated until December, 1175, 
and in December, 1175, Prince John was just nine years 
old. It seems hardly likely that his name would be 
enrolled amongst the witnesses of a charter until he 
was twelve or fourteen. Moreover, the other witnesses 
include several lawyers, most of whom, e.g., Geoffrey 
Fitz- Peter, did not come into prominence until the 
close of Henry's reign. 

5. There is good reason to believe that Le Liget, 

1 The memorandum thus preserved is curiously elaborate in its attempt 
to fix the date of the first foundation of Witham. Seeing that the time 
thus determined agrees perfectly with the year which we arrive at from 
other quite independent considerations, there can be no reason for suspect- 
ng its genuineness. It runs thus : " In the year of grace 1181, dominical 
letter D, in the seventeenth paschal feast, being the nones of April in the 
second year after leap year, the eleventh from the passion of St. Thomas, 
Pope Alexander ruling the holy Roman Church in the twenty-second year 
of his pontificate, the venerable father Baldwyn presiding over the church 
of Canterbury, and also Reginald called Ytalicus being bishop of Bath, 
Ralf de Clanville, then chief justice of England, Geoffrey fitz Peter, then 
justice of the forest, by the illustrious King Henry II., in the year of his 
age forty-nine, and of his reign twenty-eight, the house of the Carthusian 
Order in the desert (heremo), of Wytham was newly founded. . . . After 
the said house was founded, the King wished the Carthusians there to be 
free from all exaction and secular strife, according to their custom, where- 
fore he conferred upon the Prior and Convent (of Bruton) the church of 
Smhperton in recompence for the said chapel," &c. (Somerset Record 
Society, Rruton Cartulary, p. 102.) 


the other Carthusian priory founded by Henry in 
execution of his promise, was begun in nj8. 1 The 
Carthusian chronicler assigns the commencement of 
both to the same year. This allows two years to have 
been spent by the Carthusians in an abortive attempt 
to establish themselves before St. Hugh arrived, and 
also agrees perfectly with the data of the best text of 
the Magna Vita, that St. Hugh was sixty years of age 
at his death, and was forty before he left the Grande 
Chartreuse. [ED.] 

1 Cf. Le Couteulx, Annales, vol. ii. p. 449. 



THE first duty of the new Prior of Witham was to get 
his monastery built, overcoming the obstacles which 
had daunted his predecessors. Not only had no 
beginning yet been made, but no definite plan had 
been adopted for its construction. They had not settled 
where the two churches were to be, the monastery 
proper, with its cloisters and cells for the monks, the 
lower house, with its guest-chambers and its quarters 
for the lay-brothers ; in short, the whole system of 
buildings which were required to make a perfect Car- 
thusian monastery, after the model of the Grande 
Chartreuse, had not yet even been thought of. 

Hugh attentively studied the surrounding country 
and its inhabitants ; he carefully considered what steps 
were best to be taken, and with that clear intuition 
which distinguished him, prepared his plans, and sub- 
mitted them for the King's approbation, in accordance 
with his previous arrangement. Henry II. admired 
his prudence and moderation, adopted his plans, and 
graciously promised to grant all that was needed to 
carry them out. 

The first step of St. Hugh was to assemble all the 
tenants before him, as the possession of their land was 
necessary, before he could commence the building of 
the monastery, and obtain the quiet and repose which 
were indispensable for such a foundation. In the 


King's name he offered to those who were thus being 
evicted a choice of two forms of compensation, either 
that they should be allowed to occupy, in other manors 
belonging to the Crown, farms and pastures on the 
same terms as those they held at Witham ; or else, 
that they should be freed from serfdom and allowed to 
settle wherever they pleased. Some accepted other 
grants of land ; others chose their liberty. 

Hugh, with his usual charity, wished to do still 
more, and requested the King to indemnify them for 
any buildings they had erected, or any improvements 
they had made. He asked that they might receive full 
compensation for all these things, so that they might 
depart willingly, and the Carthusians enter with a clear 
conscience upon the land which they had occupied. 
The King was inclined to raise difficulties on this score, 
but St. Hugh pressed his point with as much firmness 
as gentleness. " My Lord King," he said, " so long as 
a single penny remains unpaid of what is justly due 
to these poor people, I refuse to take possession of 
Witham." The King had to give way, although he 
was not particularly well pleased with this purchase 
of tumble-down shanties and sheep-pens, but we can 
imagine the satisfaction and joy of the tenants, and 
the blessings they invoked upon their monarch and his 

St. Hugh, however, was not yet satisfied. To have 
won bare justice for his clients was a very small triumph 
for a generous heart like his. By an innocent stratagem, 
he thought he saw his way to a further victory. " Well 
now, sire, you see," he said, jestingly, " what a rich 
man I am making you, I a poor foreigner. Thanks to 
me you have become the owner of many houses upon 
your own lands." " Very true," returned the King, 
with a smile, " but I cannot say that I am anxious to 
get rich in that fashion. Your riches have almost 

96 THE NEW MONASTERY AT WITHAM.> a bankrupt of me; and what possible purpose can 
such purchases serve?" "Oh, come," said Hugh, " I 
see you don't value your bargain. If your Majesty 
then would perform an act which will do you honour, 
give these homesteads to me, for I have not yet even 
a roof over my head." Full of astonishment, the 
King stared at his petitioner. " What an extraordinary 
man you must be ! " he exclaimed ; '* do you suppose 
that we have not the means of building a monastery 
for you perfectly new. What can you want with these 
old cabins ? " " It is not fitting," replied the Prior, 
" that the King's Majesty should condescend to trouble 
himself about such insignificant details. It is the first 
favour I have asked for myself. How can you hesitate 
to grant such a modest request at once?" "Well," 
said the King, " I never saw anything like this before. 
Here is a perfect stranger who comes and almost takes 
my property from me by force. It seems I had better 
do as he bids for fear he should exact still harder con- 

It was thus with not too ill a grace that Henry 
gave way before the audacity of this bold diplomatist. 
St. Hugh on his part at once presented the buildings 
again to their former possessors, that they might either 
make use of the materials or sell them. Nothing could 
have been more delicate or ingenious than the chanty 
thus shown to the tenants who had been evicted, and 
it succeeded, as it deserved, in banishing at once and for 
ever the prejudices which had been felt against the 
foreign monks. 

The building of the monastery was now at last com- 
menced, and soon made rapid progress. Already the 
most important part was finished, and there only 
remained some other details to be completed, less 
important, but equally necessary, when the funds again 
ran short. 


The King's attention was engaged elsewhere, and 
the troubled state of his affairs in general had effaced 
the thought of Witham from his memory. There was 
no money to pay the workmen, who wearied the Prior 
and his monks by their reiterated complaints. 

Hugh sent some of his brothers to inform the King 
of all this and to implore assistance. The King received 
them graciously enough, promised to interest himself 
on their behalf, and to do all they asked ; but he sent 
them back empty-handed, with promises alone. The 
expected help did not arrive, and it was necessary to 
put a stop to the work of building altogether. 

The holy Prior preserved his patience and kept 
silence for some time, hoping that the King would 
redeem his promise. At length he sent another depu- 
tation, who were received in the same manner with the 
same promises but nothing more. Then discourage- 
ment and despair seized upon the monks, just as had 
happened before when Witham was first granted to 
them. Some of them even dared to rebuke their Prior, 
and accuse him of negligence and want of energy. 
They said it was his duty to go himself to the King and 
make his request in person. 

The boldest of these censors who thus dictated 
to St. Hugh, was one Brother Gerard of Nevers, a 
man of great austerity and fervent piety, who had no 
fear of King or potentate of this world, but who had 
not learnt sufficiently how to moderate his zeal, or 
control his tongue. He knew that Henry II. was in 
the habit of breaking his promises, and felt certain that 
without very energetic measures the foundation of the 
monastery would never be accomplished. For the 
matter of that, he was quite ready to go himself to 
the King, and was prepared to expostulate in the 
strongest terms. 

Brother Gerard's vehemence was perhaps not mi- 


natural, and it will surprise us the less if we make 
allowances for the noble blood which flowed in his 
veins. One of his relatives, William, Count of Nevers, 
had been the friend and adviser of King Louis VII. of 
France, before retiring from the world to end his days 
as a lay-brother at the Grande Chartreuse. Nor did 
he ever hesitate to reprove King Louis, whenever he 
considered reproof to be advisable. The author of the 
Magna Vita has left us an amusing picture of King 
Louis trying ineffectually to shuffle away a chess-board 
on one occasion when this mentor was unexpectedly 
announced, and being roundly scolded in consequence 
for his duplicity. Needless to say that the same 
austere spirit accompanied William of Nevers to the 
cloister, and his mortifications in his Carthusian days 
are described in terms which modern sensitiveness 
shrinks from repeating. 

Gerard of Nevers, who was his near relative and 
possibly his son, must have been a man of very 
similar temperament. Nevertheless, although his com- 
plaints to St. Hugh may be excused in some measure 
on that account, they seem to have been sufficiently 
bitter. " How long, Dom Prior," he would say, " do 
you intend to have patience with this King ? Why 
do you not tell him plainly that if he does not fulfil his 
promises and finish our monastery we will return to 
our own country ? Do you not observe that the repu- 
tation of our Order is at stake, and that we are being 
made ridiculous ? If your natural modesty prevents 
you from speaking to this monarch as he deserves to 
be spoken to, take me with you, and you shall hear the 
terms in which I will address him." 

The Prior, knowing the good intentions of this plain- 
speaking Brother, listened to him calmly, and assembled 
all the monks in consultation. It was unanimously 
agreed that the Prior should set out to remonstrate with 


the King, and that Brother Gerard should accompany 
him. " Since this is the advice of you all," said 
St. Hugh, " I will adopt it. But remember, Brother 
Gerard, if you speak plainly you must also speak with 
moderation. The King's designs, as I have reason to 
know, are not easily fathomed, and it may be that he is 
only wishing to try us before granting our request. He 
knows that by our profession we are bound to act upon 
these words of our Divine Lord : In your patience 
you shall possess your souls;' 1 and that other exhor- 
tation of St. Paul : ' Let us exhibit ourselves as the 
ministers of God, in much patience.' 2 Now it is only 
by bearing adversities and contradictions for a long 
time that we can prove we possess this virtue ; without 
long-suffering, patience is not great, but small and of 
no duration; without gentleness, patience cannot exist." 

St. Hugh set out from Witham, accompanied b>y 
Brother Gerard and Brother Aynard, the last-named 
being full of courage in spite of his old age. The King 
received the three monks with great respect and 
veneration, and, as before, when they spoke to him of 
Witham, made every conceivable promise of assistance, 
excusing himself for his delay, and assuring them that 
the monastery should soon be finished. But he still 
avoided giving the supplies demanded ; nor did he 
appoint any specific time for sending them. 

Then Brother Gerard could no longer contain his 
indignation. " My Lord King," he said, " you may do 
exactly as you please : you may finish our monastery, 
or abandon it altogether ; we will have nothing more 
to do with it. As for myself, I mean to say farewell to 
you, and to leave your kingdom. I shall return to the 
desert of the Chartreuse. Do you think you are doing 
us a favour by doling out your bread to us with such 
a niggard hand ? We have no need of your charity. 
1 St. Luke xxi. 19. a z Cor. vi. 4. 

ioo Till-: .V/:ir MOXASTKKY AT U'lTHAM. 

It is f.n better for us to return to our barren rocks in 
tlu- Alps, than to have to liable with a man who thinks CVCry penny spent upon the salvation of his soul 
is \\asted and thrown away. Let him keep the money, 
which he clings to so fondly, until he has to give it up 
for good and all to some spendthrift heir or other. 
Neither Jesus Christ nor His servants will condescend 
to touch it." 

These were the sort of compliments which Brother 
Gerard thought fit to address to a monarch like 
Henry II. While he was speaking so passionately, 
Hugh endeavoured vainly to silence him, or to keep 
him within due bounds. The old baronial spirit broke 
loose, and, strong in the holiness of his cause, he- 
gave way to all the natural impetuosity of his 
character, and redoubled his reproaches, instead of 
moderating them. The good Prior was overwhelmed 
with confusion, and could never afterwards recall 
the scene without a shudder. The King remained 
apparently unmoved, he answered not a word, and 
listened calmly to the storm of rebuke until it had 
come to an end. At last Brother Gerard stopped. 
A dead silence prevailed for several minutes, during 
which Henry II. looked fixedly at the holy Prior, 
who bowed down his head in silence. Then tin- 
King spoke: "And you, good man, what are your 
intentions ? Will you also take yourself oil and 
leave my kingdom?" " No, my loid and King," 
replied St. Hugh, meekly ; " I will not leave you. I do 
not despair of you. Rather do 1 ieel great pity for you. 
You have so many cares; you aie u\ei whelmed with 
business, which hinders you from thinking of the 
interests of your soul. Other occupations are absorb- 
ing your thoughts now ; but when God gives you time 
for reflection, you will do all you have promised : you 
will bring the good work you have begun to a happy 


conclusion." " As I hope for salvation," exclaimed 
the King, embracing the Prior as he spoke, " I swear 
that you shall never leave my kingdom as long as I 
live. It is from you that I will seek advice for my 
soul's good ; it is with your aid that I will make reso- 
lutions for the future." 

With that the King sent for, on the spot, and put 
into the hands of the Prior the sum of money that was 
necessary for the completion of the monastery, giving 
directions that the work should be proceeded with 
immediately. Thus did the gentleness of St. Hugh gain 
a signal victory over the King, and a victory all the 
more remarkable, because the King, who was naturally 
irascible, had been provoked beyond measure by the 
violence of Brother Gerard. Nor must we imagine that 
St. Hugh could not also, when the occasion demanded, 
speak firmly and vigorously. When there was question, 
not of asking relief for himself, but of asserting the 
rights of the Church of God, we shall see him take quite 
another attitude, and display an indomitable courage. 

The Monastery of Witham was therefore completed 
at last, and the Carthusians were able to enjoy there 
the same peace and seclusion as in the desert solitude 
they had quitted, when they came to England. 1 Few 

1 It would seem that at the time the Carthusian foundation was made, 
the manor of Witham was not in the immediate possession of the Crown, 
but was partly in the hands of the Malet family, partly occupied by the 
Austin Canons of Bruton, who had a chapel at Witham itself. These two 
interests had to be purchased, and the Bruton Canons received in exchange 
the advowson of South Petherton, while Ralph Malet was compensated by 
a grant of land in the hundred of North Curry. Very probably these 
transactions took place before St. Hugh arrived upon the scene. Witham 
lay partly or entirely within the forest of Selwood, and the Priory was 
sometimes known by the name of Selwood, but although the district was 
somewhat thinly populated and is called eremus in Henry's Charter, it was 
not a desert like the Grande Chartreuse itself. It would seem that "the 
great high road from Old Sarum across Mendip skirted it on the north and 
east." (See an article in the Church Quarterly Review for October, 1896, 
vol. xlii. p. 391.) [ED.] 


remains are left at this day of the first English Charter- 
house ; but there is every reason for believing that the 
present ancient church of the town of Witham is one 
of the two erected by St. Hugh. It is small, of oblong 
shape, and of a severe style of architecture, such as 
befitted an Order of solitaries. 1 The church has an 
apse at its eastern end, and a vaulted stone roof. In the 
last century a few buildings were still to be seen, which 
had escaped the general destruction under Henry VIII., 2 
and some remains of these may be traced in the walls 
of a farm-house that is built on the same site. The 
ruins, which were destroyed in 1764, gave an idea of 
the extent of the monastery, and emphasized the devas- 
tation wrought by the schismatic King, who had so 
little shame in pulling down the work which his pre- 
decessors had built up. 


Miss E. M. Thompson, in her painstaking volume, 
A History of the Somerset Carthusians, remarks of Witham 
Church : " In A.D. 1458, the Prior of Witham petitioned 
Bishop Beckington to be allowed to put the ' chapel of 
the Friary' (i.e., the lay- brothers' chapel) to the uses of a 
parish church for the secular persons living within the 
bounds of the Priory. Upon the suppression, this 

1 It is in the transition style of that epoch (11761186). As the Vita 
Mttnca (verse 448) speaks of pillars, we may conclude that the principal 
church, that of the choir-monks, had aisles on each side of the nave, and 
consequently that it is the church of the lay-brothers which has been 
preserved. [This conjecture of the Carthusian author is certainly correct. 
See note at end of the chapter.] The I' it a Metrica speaks also of the 
stone vaulting constructed by St. Hugh : 

" Nam testudo riget sursum, pariesque deorsum, 
Non putrescibili ligno, sed perpeti saxo. " 

* Monatticon Anglic. \\. 3. Preface to the English edition of the 
Magna Vita, p. xxii, 


chapel, like others elsewhere, was probably spared 
because it had really become by this time the parish 
church for the people of the district. This little Church 
of St. Mary of Charterhouse, Witham its severe style 
of architecture harmonizing with the ascetic life of its 
builders, redeemed from ugliness within by the beautiful 
concentration of the arches of the stone roof is the 
sole relic still in some measure devoted to its original 
holy uses, not only of the first English Carthusians, but 
also of the whole branch of the Order in England. 
Not the least significant note of the vast difference 
between their age and the present, is that this church 
built, if ever church was, that it might be the house 
of prayer stands with locked doors during the long 
intervals between the hours of service, when it may 
indeed be entered, but by the sight-seer, and not by the 
would-be worshipper." The same writer adds in a 
note: " About sixty years ago the little church under- 
went a strange transformation. Some of the adjacent 
buildings, which had not been pulled down before, were 
removed, and an incongruous square tower was erected 
at the west end in an entirely different style of archi- 
tecture. At the same date, an old and beautifully 
carved wood-screen of oak was ruthlessly destroyed ; 
the entrance to the loft above it, with the steps formed 
in the thickness of the masonry, may still be seen in 
the north wall of the interior. In the same wall, a few 
feet farther to the west, there is a blocked entrance to 
a passage which Collinson, the author of the History of 
Somerset, described, in A.D. 1791, as winding round the 
east end of the church and leading to the monastery, 
and the traces of which were probably also removed 
during these alterations. In 1876, Mr. Burney, the 
then parish priest \lege clergyman] of Witham, with a 
wiser spirit of restoration, took down the tower, and 
enlarged the church westwards in a style in keeping 


with its original architecture, at the same time raising 
the outer roof and covering it with red tiles." 

The architecture of Witham Church is of particular 
interest on account of its assumed relation to that 
portion of Lincoln Cathedral which was built by 
St. Hugh. On this head something will be said later 
on. For the present it is sufficient to note that in the 
article in Archaologia on "the English Origin of Gothic 
Architecture," by Mr. J. H. Parker, vol. xliii. p. 86, an 
engraving is given of the interior of Witham Church. 
There is also a sketch in Miss E. M. Thompson's work 
just quoted. 1 [Eo.] 

1 Further information about Witham may be found in the Somerset 
i-ological Society's Proceedings, vol xii. (1863), p. 35, and vol. xxi 
( l8 75). P 3: Arehaologia, vol. xlvii. p. 48, and vol. 1. pp 307, 308 



"THE possessions of Henry II. were very extensive," 
the biographer of St. Hugh tells us, " besides England 
and the greater part of Ireland, he ruled over Normandy, 
Anjou, Aquitaine, and numerous other dependencies. 
Now, in the whole of this vast territory, there was no 
man to whom he listened, as he listened to the Prior of 
Witham." i 

The King of England had kept his word ; he had 
given St. Hugh his entire confidence. Ever since the 
interview in which he had declared that he chose the 
Prior of Witham as his special adviser, he was con- 
tinually seeking him out and wishing to profit by his 
opinion. He confided all his secrets to St. Hugh, 
and showed him such particular affection that the 
courtiers were amazed at it. Not knowing how to 
explain such conduct, they spread about the most 
absurd and false reports, declaring that the Prior of 
Witham must be one of the King's illegitimate sons. 
And long afterwards, at the time of the death of Henry's 
son and successor, Richard Cceur de Lion, the chaplain 
of St. Hugh was still obliged to contradict the story in 
conversing with some of the Bishop's visitors. We 
know not if the servant of God ever took any trouble 
himself to refute this falsehood, but we shall see as we 
go on how he scorned such a title to greatness, and 
i Magna Vita, bk. ii. ch, vii. 


how he showed no less horror for the vices of kings 
than for those of the meanest of the people. 

But the trust which Henry II. reposed in the Saint 
had a more creditable cause than the courtiers either 
imagined or were capable of understanding. He had 
learnt wisdom from his disputes with St. Thomas of 
Canterbury ; he felt old age to be approaching ; he 
longed for counsel and comfort in the many grievous 
trials he had to bear from his rebellious sons ; and 
hence he began truly and earnestly to think of the 
salvation of his soul. Although he had been a perse- 
cutor of the Church, he was not an unbeliever, and at 
certain times especially he felt the need of having near 
him a man of God, to show him what his duty was, 
and to encourage him to do it. This was why he 
sought the society of St. Hugh. 1 He found there none 
of the flattery and adulation with which his courtiers 
sated him, but in its place, he was able to enjoy the 
charm of elevated thoughts couched in language full 
of sincerity and good sense, and so framed as to 
expose, not to disguise, the truth. The Prior of 
Witham was never weary of giving good advice to 
the King, and in such a manner as to make it most 
acceptable. He spoke to him of his soul, of his 
family, of his subjects, of all that could tend to the 
glory of God, the happiness of his people, and the 
maintenance of peace. He knew how to choose the 
right moment to obtain an important decision, how to 
"reprove, entreat, rebuke, in all patience and doctrine." 2 
Sometimes he gave forcible reasons for the course of 
action he was suggesting ; sometimes he brought forward 
the examples of famous men in the past ; sometimes 

1 The Carthusian Monastery of Witham was on the outskirts of Selwood 
Forest, in which Henry II. used often to hunt. This furnished an oppor- 
tunity for his frequent interviews with the Saint. 

a 3 Timothyjiv. 2. 


he was modestly reticent, at others vehement and 
inflexible. It was in vain for the King to fortify himself 
against the eloquence of his saintly counsellor ; he 
always had to confess himself vanquished in the end. 

Hugh did not take advantage of his influence over 
the King to mix himself up with worldly affairs. He 
kept aloof from all political intrigue, and left the care 
of earthly interests to earthly souls ; but in all matters 
relating to the Church or the poor, he never affected to 
be indifferent. The abuses which had so excited the 
indignation of St. Thomas of Canterbury had not 
entirely disappeared. If the Church in England was 
now enjoying comparative peace, through the prayers 
of her illustrious martyr, she was still far from having 
regained all her freedom. The disastrous Constitu- 
tions of Clarendon had been solemnly repudiated by 
Henry II., but they were still too often put in practice. 

Two flagrant abuses of power especially grieved 
the holy Prior of Witham. The King continued to 
seize upon vacant bishoprics and other ecclesiastical 
benefices, to keep them in his possession a long time 
and to appropriate their revenues. After having thus 
prolonged the widowhood of these churches, he arrogated 
to himself the right of appointing new pastors, contrary 
to the just requirements of canonical elections. Hugh 
strongly opposed this usurpation, and proved that it 
could not be justified by any precedent in the time of 
the predecessors of Henry II. He also inveighed 
against the disastrous consequences which usually 
followed such appointments, and affirmed that all the 
woes of the people of God were caused by the unworthy 
pastors who were too often the recipients of the royal 
nomination. He spoke of the terrible chastisements, 
reserved by the vengeance of Heaven, for the authors 
of this scandal. " O my Prince," he would say, "you, 
who are so wise, how can you, for the sake of granting 

io8 CONFIDENCE OF 7/E.VflV 77. 7.V ST. 77C7G77. 

a favour to a most unworthy subject, how can you 
consent to become the murderer of so many souls 
redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ, how can you thus 
outrage the Divine Majesty and expose yourself to the 
terrible torments of Hell ? If you wish to avoid this 
abyss of manifold evils, you must leave the ecclesi- 
astical elections free, according to the Canon Law. 
All you have to do in the matter is to support and 
defend the candidate who has been legitimately elected." 

If the English monarch had had no other advisers, 
it is probable enough that the deplorable abuses which 
were laid to his charge would have been put a stop to. 
But as soon as the holy Prior had left the King's 
cabinet, he was succeeded by interested and un- 
scrupulous courtiers, who wished to maintain these 
spoliations and sacrilegious nominations, as well as all 
the other tyrannical decrees against which St. Hugh 
had been declaiming. Thus the good seed was often 
trampled down and choked by these odious flatterers. 
And yet, in spite of all obstacles, there were occasions 
when it took root and bore fruit in the acts of repara- 
tion, of generosity and clemency, which Henry II. 
occasionally performed under the influence of the Saint. 
Many churches and monasteries thus received the help 
they needed ; many enemies of the King obtained their 
pardon ; many violent measures were happily averted. 
And if we take into consideration the savage customs 
of that time, and the passionate fury which often took 
possession of the King and paralyzed his reasoning 
powers, we shall have a more just idea of the beneficent 
influence of St. Hugh, and be less astonished at his 
failure to produce a permanent impression. 

Even when the Prior of Witham could not obtain 
the reforms he desired, he did not cease to protest 
against evil in every form. Considering as he did that 
love for the poor was part and parcel of love for holy 


Church, he felt extreme indignation at the cruel manner 
in which the poor country people were treated by the 
foresters and the forest-laws. He had the greatest 
horror of these foresters. "Forester" he would say, 
"forester means a man who remains outside (forestarius, 
foris stare) ; yes, that is the right name for them, for 
they will remain outside the Kingdom of God." The 
King was not offended at this sally. 

One day, when the holy Prior entered the palace, 
he found in the antechamber several foresters, who had 
just been refused an audience. They were furiously 
indignant, and were speaking most disrespectfully of the 
King. "Who are you then," said St. Hugh, " that 
dare to use such language ? " " We are foresters," they 
replied. "Then," said the man of God, "stay out of 
doors" (forestarii, foyis state). Henry II. heard this 
retort, and came out of his inner room laughing to greet 
the intrepid Prior, who immediately said to him: " The 
words you have just heard, concern you also. The poor 
people who are tortured by your forest-guards, will 
enter Heaven, and you and your foresters will stand 
without ! " l 

It needed all the ready wit of St. Hugh, and all the 
ascendency which belonged to a strong character like 
his to make such severe reproofs palatable. 

Providence, it is true, seemed to lend its support to 
these admonitions by abandoning the aged monarch 
to cruel sufferings and trials. His sons rebelled against 
him, and the eldest of them, Prince Henry, died in the 
midst of the war he had declared against his father. 
When his last moments were approaching, he sent a 
messenger to the King to beg his forgiveness and 
implore him to visit him on his death-bed. Henry 
feared this was only a snare, and contented himself 
with sending a ring from his finger, as a token of 
1 Walter Mapes, De Nugis Curialium, p. 7. Camden Society. 



forgiveness. But he learnt soon after, that his son had 
died truly contrite, after receiving the Sacraments of 
the Church, lying, as the custom then was, upon ashes 
on the ground. 1 Such an end necessarily directed the 
thoughts of his miserable father into a Christian 
channel, and awakened his anxiety about his own soul. 
There can be no doubt that St. Hugh will have profited 
by this and similar occasions to fan the flame of his 
good desires. 

The King set as great a value upon the prayers of 
this faithful friend, as upon his counsels. He felt 
certain that to the intercession of Hugh he owed his 
deliverance from many perils, and a special outpouring 
of the mercy of Almighty God. On one terrible 
occasion, especially, this confidence in the prayers of 
St. Hugh was strikingly manifested. 

The King had put to sea, at the head of a consider- 
able fleet, on his return from Normandy to England, 
against the advice of the captain, who feared a tempest. 
No sooner had they left the shores of France at some 
distance behind them, when, in the first watch of the 
night, they were caught in a terrible storm. The 
waves ran mountains high, the ships were powerless 
in the fury of the gale, and all hope seemed lost. The 
bravest among the passengers were seized with mortal 
terror; some were making their confession, and pre- 
paring to die ; others were imploring help from Heaven 
and the protection of their patron saints. 

In the midst of the tumult, suddenly the King cried 
out : " O ! if my Carthusian Hugh were watching now, 
if he were praying in his cell, or chanting the Divine 
Office with his brothers ; for his sake, God would not 
forget me ! " And then he continued, with tears ; " O 
God ! whom the Prior of Witham serves so faithfully, 
look Thou upon his merits and intercession; and for 
1 Lingard, History of England, c. xii. 


his sake, take pity upon our distress in spite of the 
sins which deserve Thy judgments ! " 

At that very moment, the wind ceased, the tempest 
gave place to a perfect calm, the angry waves subsided 
and every one of the ships reached the English shore 
in safety. While earnest thanksgivings were heard on 
all sides, for this great deliverance, we may be quite 
sure that the King was confirmed in the trust and 
affection he felt for St. Hugh, which had thus been so 
marvellously justified. 1 

In the history of King Philip Augustus of France, 
a similar fact is related, which it will not be out of 
place to mention here. The King was on his journey 
to the Holy Land, and a terrible storm arising, he re- 
assured his sailors by saying to them : " It is now 
midnight ; and this is the hour when the Cistercians 
of Clairvaux rise to sing Matins. These holy monks 
never forget us in their prayers ; and for their sakes, 
our Lord Christ will have mercy on us. Their prayers 
will obtain our deliverance from this peril." And as 
the King spoke, the storm abated, and the stars shone 
once more in the clear heavens. 2 

If we want to understand what part the monasteries 
played in the life of the middle ages, it is in such 
episodes as these that we may find the information 
which we seek. They help us to understand these 
words of St. John Chrysostom : "The charity of the 
monk is more than royal ; a king, if he is good, can 
supply the bodily needs of the poor ; but the monk, by 
his prayers, can deliver us from the tyranny of the 
devil. A man whose soul is mortally wounded, passes 
from the presence of his king, who is powerless to help 
him, and flies to the monastery, the house of prayer, 
just as an unarmed peasant when he sees the wolf 

1 Magna Vita, bk. ii. ch. viii ; Vita Metrica, v. 611 668. 
* William the Breton, Philippis, iv. 44. 


coining, takes shelter behind a hunter, who is brandish- 
ing a spear. For as the spear is to the hunter, so is 
prayer to the monk. And it is not we only who seek 
for such a refuge in peril and tribulation, for kings 
themselves have sought it in their hour of need, as 
beggars seek the house of a rich man when the land is 
swept by famine." 1 

A generation which despises and neglects this means 
of salvation, exposes itself to the danger of a terrible 
shipwreck. It is in vain for them to boast of the skill 
of their pilots ; the tempest will come, and all the frail 
support upon which their hopes were built, will fail 
them when they need it most. Would that even then 
in the eleventh hour they would turn for succour to 
God and His servants ! 

A thinker of modern times has written : " I think 
that those who pray, do more for the world than those 
who fight ; and if it is true that the world is going from 
bad to worse, it is because there are more battles than 
prayers. If we could penetrate the secrets of God, and 
those of the history of mankind, I am certain that we 
should be x seized with admiration at the wonderful 
effects of prayer, even in human things. If society is 
to be at rest, there must be a certain equilibrium, 
known to God alone, between prayer and action, 
between the contemplative and the active life. I 
believe, so strong are my convictions on this point, 
that if a day should ever come, or even one single hour, 
during which no prayer should ascend from earth to 
Heaven, that day and. hour would be the last day and 
the last hour of the world." 2 

1 Comparatio regis et monachi, ch. iv. 
-' Donoso Cortes, vol. ii. p. 124. 



In the very unfavourable estimate of the religious 
side of Henry II. 's character which has been formed 
by Bishop Stubbs, it seems to me that the distinguished 
historian has been hardly just to the many redeeming 
features for which we have good evidence in the Magna 
Vita, and other sources. In Bishop Stubbs' view : " He 
had little regard for more than the merest forms of 
religion; like Napoleon Bonaparte, he heard Mass daily, 
but without paying decent attention to the ceremony. 
During the most solemn part of the service, he was 
whispering to his courtiers, or scribbling, or looking at 
pictures. 1 His vows to God, he seems to have thought, 
might be evaded as easily as his covenants with men ; 
his undertaking to go on the Crusade was commuted 
for money payments, 2 and his promised religious foun- 
dations were carried out at the expense of others. His 
regard for personal morality was of much the same 
value and extent. He was at no period of his life a 
faithful husband ; and when he had finally quarrelled 
with Eleanor, he sank into sad depths of licentious- 

Now the fact is, that nearly all these details rest 
upon the evidence of Ralph Niger, and upon the 
De Institutione Pnncipum of Giraldus Cambrensis. 3 That 
these two writers are flagrantly unfair to Henry in 
their account of the three monasteries he had promised 
to found, we have already seen, 4 and it seems extremely 

1 " This may be a libel of Ralph Niger," adds Bishop Stubbs, in a note, 
" but it is graphic enough to be true." 

2 Henry II. never entirely laid aside the idea of the Crusade, and it is 
impossible to doubt the sincerity of the plans which he formed to go to 
Palestine with his son Richard and the King of France, only a year before 
his death. 

3 De Institutione Principum, Rolls Series, p. 304. 

4 See note to chapter viii. p. 83. 



probable that their presentment of other incidents in 
his career is not more trustworthy. Giraldus implies, 
for instance, that he died without the sacraments, but 
Roger Hoveden, 1 whose authority is accepted by such 
writers as Miss Kate Norgate, and Bishop Stubbs him- 
self, states explicitly, that just before his death he had 
himself carried into the chapel of the Castle of Chinon, 
and there, before the altar, "received devoutly the 
Communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord, con- 
fessing his sins, and absolved by the bishops and the 
clergy." When we remember, therefore, the real friend- 
ship which subsisted between the King and the holy 
Bishop of Lincoln, and make allowances for the violent 
storms of passion to which the former was subject, 
there seems little room for doubt that the efforts to 
make his peace with God, of which so many are 
recorded in his life, were thoroughly sincere. No one, 
it seems to me, has better summed up this side of 
Henry's character than Mrs. J. R. Green, in her little 
monograph in the Twelve English Statesmen Series. " To 
the last," she says, " Henry looked on the clergy as his 
best advisers and supporters. He never demanded 
tribute from churches or monasteries, a monkish his- 
torian tells us, as other princes were wont to do, on 
the plea of necessity ; with religious care, he preserved 
them from unjust burthens and public exactions. By 
frequent acts of devotion, he sought to win the favour 
of Heaven, or to rouse the religious sympathies of 
England on his behalf. In April, 1177, he met at 
Canterbury his old enemy the Archbishop of Rheims, 
and laid on the shrine of St. Thomas a charter of 
privileges for the convent. On the ist of May, he 
visited the shrine of St. Edmund, and the next day 
that of St. Etheldreda at Ely. ... A Templar was 
chosen to be his almoner, that he might carry to the 

1 Hoveden, vol. ii. p. 367. 


King the complaints of the poor, which could not come 
to his own ears, and distribute among the needy a tenth 
of all the food and drink that came into the house of 
the King. . . . Behind Henry's darkest and sternest 
moods lay a nature quick in passionate emotion, singu- 
larly sensitive to affection, tender, full of generous 
impulse, clinging to those he loved with yearning 
fidelity and long patience." 1 Even in his attempt to 
carry through the too famous Constitutions of Clarendon, 
the writer last quoted seems right in saying* 'that he 
had no desire to quarrel with the Church or priest- 
hood." No doubt several of the provisions of that 
enactment were distinct encroachments upon the privi- 
leges of the Church, but it may be questioned if the 
precise point at issue in the most famous of the Con- 
stitutions of Clarendon has always been clearly appre- 
hended either by the opponents or the friends of King 
Henry. Professor Maitland 2 seems to have studied 
the question very carefully and impartially, and he 
considers that Henry never intended to require what 
Stubbs imputes to him, viz., " that clerical criminals 
should be tried in the ordinary courts of the country." 3 
The discussion of the nature of Henry's schemes does 
not, however, belong to this place, and as to the 
general drift of his legislation regarding the clergy, 
Bishop Stubbs' remark seems still to hold good. 
" When we find that in this cause all the piety and 
wisdom of .three centuries saw the championship of 
the Divine truth and justice against secular usurpation, 
we are not surely wrong in supposing that the Consti- 
tutions of Clarendon were dated three centuries too 
soon." 4 [ED.] 

1 Henry II., by Mrs. J. R. Green, pp. 195 197. 

3 History of English Law, vol. i. p. 430 seq. ; and English Historical 
Review, vol. vii. p. 224. 

3 Stubbs, Constitutional History, vol. i. p. 501, 
* Preface to Benedict, vol. ii. p. 24. 



WHILE he was thus rendering service to the King of 
England, St. Hugh did not neglect his own monastery. 
Now that the material edifice was completed, thanks to 
his courage and activity, he lost no time in building up 
the spiritual edifice of a perfect religious life, keeping 
closely to the model of the Grande Chartreuse itself. 
His great care was to see that the Rule was strictly 
observed, and to this he contributed not less by example 
than by precept. Faithfully to do the will of God from 
one moment to the other, and to look upon the Rule as 
a revelation of His will ; to neglect no one of its most 
minute requirements, however unimportant it might 
seem to be ; and to persevere day after day in this 
blind and simple obedience : this was the religious 
spirit which the holy Prior strove to impress upon the 
monks under his guidance. And to him this life of 
perfect regularity had become such a habit, that it was 
almost a second nature. So much so, that as soon as 
he lay down to rest at the appointed hour, he went 
to sleep immediately ; and if he were awakened out of 
the proper time, either he got up and gave himself to 
prayer, or he at once dropped off to sleep again without 
an effort. It is true that his short rest was well earned, 
and, moreover, it might have been said of him, with 
the bride in the Canticles : " I sleep, and my heart 
watcheth." 1 Those who approached him during his 

i Cant. v. 2. 


hours of slumber, often heard him repeat the words, 
Amen, amen. This word, the only one that ever escaped 
him during sleep, was like the conclusion of the un- 
interrupted prayer of his waking hours. In it also we 
may discern the habitual disposition of his soul, ready 
to say Amen to every manifestation of the Divine will, 
and always full of that living and strong faith, of which 
the Amen is a solemn affirmation. It pleased God also 
to reveal His secrets to His servant in dreams, of 
which in after-days he used sometimes to speak to his 
biographer. " When he told me these things," says 
the pious historian, " I thought that to this man of 
God might well be applied the words of the Divine 
Office, which he himself always sang with great fervour : 

Exuta sensu lubrico 

Te cordis alta somnient ! l 

It is not astonishing that during his sleep he enjoyed 
this spiritual serenity, these clear intuitions, and this 
holy sweetness ; he who, when awake, never allowed 
his imagination to be led captive by vanity, or curiosity, 
or sensuality." 2 

His days were passed in prayer, in meditation, in 
spiritual reading, and in the care of those committed to 
his charge. On Sundays and feast-days, when he went 
to the refectory in obedience to the Rule, he behaved 
as he taught his Religious to do : " His eyes were upon 
the table, his hands upon his food, his ears upon the 
reading, and his heart was upon God." 3 When he 
took his meals alone in his cell, he always had a book 
open before him on the table. It was the Word of God 
which gave a relish to those austere repasts, which 
often consisted of nothing but bread and water. 

1 " O my God, grant that, delivered from dangerous imaginations, the 
depths of our hearts may dream only of Thee." (Carthusian Breviary, 
Hymn for Sunday Vespers.) 

8 Magna Vila, bk. ii. ch. ix. 3 Ibid. 


No one ever had more esteem and love for books 
than he had. He wished that his monastery might 
in this resemble the Grande Chartreuse, and might 
possess a rich library in the midst of its poverty. 
He therefore endeavoured to accomplish this end by 
the purchase or transcription of numerous manuscripts. 
Nothing seemed to him more necessary for diffusing 
throughout the cloister an atmosphere of edification 
and piety. " When we are at peace," he said, " books 
are our treasures and delights ; when we are fighting, 
they are our arms ; when we are hungry, they are our 
food ; when we are sick, they are our remedy. This is 
a resource which no Order of religious men can afford 
to neglect ; but those who need it most of all, are the 
monks who live in solitude." 1 

A somewhat curious episode may serve to illustrate 
this great love which he had for books ; while it will 
show us also how he preferred the exercise of fraternal 
charity above all else. 

One day, when he was in familiar conversation with 
the King, he was speaking of the poverty of his library. 
"You must find copyists," said the Prince, "to tran- 
scribe the books you require." " But I have no 
parchment," said the Prior. " How much money will 
purchase the quantity you need ? " continued the 
Prince. "A silver mark," replied St. Hugh, "will 
keep us supplied for a long time to come." The King 
smiled. " How grasping you are ! " he said. And then 
he ordered that ten marks should immediately be given 
to the Brother who was in attendance on the Prior of 
Witham. Moreover, he promised to present the 
monastery with a Bible which should contain the 
whole of the Old and New Testaments. He did not 
forget this promise, and made inquiries as to where 
such a Bible could be found. He was told that the 

1 Magna Vita, bk. ii. ch. xiii. 


monks of St. Swithun, at Winchester, had just com- 
pleted a very beautiful Bible, which was intended for 
their refectory. The King immediately sent for the 
Prior of St. Swithun, and induced him, not without 
holding out hopes of ample compensation, to part with 
this masterpiece of caligraphy. The present thus made 
to the King was at once transferred by him to Witham. 
St. Hugh and his monks, who were quite ignorant of 
whence it came, rejoiced greatly over their beautiful 
new treasure. They admired the elegant writing of the 
copyist, and the intelligent revision of the corrector, 
both of whom had spared no pains to secure an easily 
legible and accurate text. 

A short time afterwards, one of the monks from 
Winchester came to Witham on a friendly visit. 
According to his custom, St. Hugh received the visitor 
with great affability, and, in the course of conversation, 
spoke of the magnificent Bible w T hich, by the King's 
generosity, had lately come into possession of the 
Carthusians. " We are delighted," said the visitor, 
44 to think that it is your monastery which has received 
our book. We hope it gives you satisfaction in every 
way ! If it is not arranged according to the usage of 
your Order, we shall be happy to make you another 
copy in accordance with your instructions." Filled 
with astonishment, the holy Prior replied : " Is it 
possible that our lord the King can thus have deprived 
your house of a work so carefully executed for your 
own use ? Believe me, my dear Brother, your Bible 
shall be restored to you at once. I beg of you to 
present our excuses to your community, and ask for- 
giveness for the wrong we have done them, although 
it was quite without our knowledge." On this the 
monk of St. Swithun's took fright, and implored 
St. Hugh not to carry out his design, as the monastery 
at Winchester might lose the King's favour, if the 


affair came to the royal ears. He assured St. Hugh 
that all his brothers in Religion were delighted at what 
had happened. " Well, then ! " concluded St. Hugh, 
" to make their joy a lasting joy, we must all keep 
secret the restitution I am determined to make of their 
precious treasure. Take your Bible with you, if you do 
not want me to send it back again to the donor who 
sent it here. Carry it away at once, and be quite sure 
that the King shall never know a word about the 
matter." The Bible therefore returned to its first 
possessors, who received it as a present from the Prior 
of Witham : and if they were overjoyed to recover their 
beautiful manuscript, they were still more charmed 
with the gracious charity which had shown so much 
consideration for their disappointment. 

From that day forth the most affectionate relations 
were established between the monks of St. Swithun 
and those of Witham. Later on, two Religious from 
Winchester entered the English Charterhouse, and 
became excellent Carthusians : one of them was Robert, 
Prior of the Cathedral ; the other Ralph, the sacristan, 1 
who related to the biographer of St. Hugh the fact of 
which we have just been speaking. 

These were not the only recruits who were attracted 
to Witham by the man of God. His reputation for 
kindness and sanctity soon spread throughout England, 
and many distinguished visitors came to Witham, seek- 
ing the advice and consolation which never disappointed 

1 It does not seem to me that the expressions used in the Magna Vita 
justify the inference that Ralph, the sacrist, also became a Carthusian. 
Of Robert the Prior we learn something from Richard of Devizes, himself 
a monk of St. Swithun's, who paid a visit to Witham to see his former 
Superior, and to find out " how much nearer to Heaven was a cell in the 
Charterhouse than the cloister of Winchester." He tells us that he had 
even had a thought of staying at Witham himself, but his tone nevertheless 
is rather acrid, and he mentions another distinguished man, Walter, Prior 
of I'.ath, who had joined the Carthusians and had left them again. (Richard 
of Devizes, Gtita Richardi, p. 26 and Prologue.) [ED.] 


them. Among them, were men of learning, possessing 
rich benefices, who were so captivated by the sight of 
his virtues, that they bade farewell to all that the 
world had to offer, in order to become humble disciples 
in this school of self-renunciation. 

On his part, St. Hugh, always prudent and circum- 
spect, was not inclined to open the doors of the cloister 
too easily. He examined carefully into the motives 
which were actuating his postulants, and could on 
occasion be stern as well as gentle. But when he 
had really tested a vocation, and was satisfied of its 
genuineness, he was always rejoiced to receive a new 
son into the Order he loved so tenderly. It was then 
that the time of his solicitude began. The holy Prior 
was not content with guiding the first steps of his 
novices; he followed them in every stage of their 
religious life, never ceasing to stimulate their efforts, 
as far as discretion allowed. The greater number 
repaid his fatherly care; but we must confess that 
there were some sad exceptions to this rule, and 
there were especially two of these new recruits on 
whose account St. Hugh had to suffer cruelly. 

Is it necessary to remark here that it would be folly 
to impute to a whole Religious Order the faults of some 
of its individual members ? If the Order founded by 
St. Bruno has never needed reform, the same cannot 
be said of every Carthusian. On the contrary, it is 
because the weak and unfruitful branches have been 
carefully pruned and extirpated, that the tree itself has 
continued to flourish in all its pristine strength and 

Moreover, while St. Hugh had not to deplore the 
more grievous scandals which sometimes occurred in 
other monasteries, he had too often to contend with 
that elusive but none the less inveterate infirmity of 
the soul which we may describe as want of perseverance. 


The two monks who were attacked by this malady, 
Andrew, formerly sacristan of the Monastery of 
Muchelney, and Alexander, a former secular canon 
of Lewes, were both men of good reputation, and had 
made considerable sacrifices to enter the Carthusian 
Order. But they began to regret the step they had 
taken, and to lose all relish for their solitary life. They 
complained to the holy Prior, and murmured against 
him and against the Order he represented. Andrew 
was not so violent ; but the ex-canon, proud of his 
learning and secular knowledge, gave free vent to his 
indignation. He accused the man of God of having 
deceitfully entrapped him into remaining in so severe 
a solitude, where he was deprived of all human con- 
solation, and compelled to live without the society even 
of his brothers in Religion. St. Hugh endeavoured, 
with inexhaustible patience and gentleness, to calm 
these unquiet spirits, and to point out to them the 
advantages and excellence of their way of life. But he 
had the grief of seeing them turn a deaf ear to all his 
exhortations, and he found himself powerless to prevent 
the catastrophe he dreaded. The two monks had made 
up their minds to leave the monastery. Their intention 
was soon known to their brothers in Religion, and even 
to persons outside. It was a great trial for the whole 
community, and a scandal especially for those who had 
recently embraced the religious life. St. Hugh was 
deeply grieved : his heart was torn with anguish to see 
the peace of his monastery threatened, and the per- 
severance of his other monks thus sorely imperilled. 

Some little consolation he must doubtless have felt 
from the action of one at that time much respected for 
his learning and virtue, the well-known writer, Peter of 
Blois, Archdeacon of Bath. This distinguished man 
had formerly studied law with the monk Alexander, 
and he now addressed a long letter to his old fellow- 


student, in which he endeavoured to dissuade him from 
his deplorable project. Peter wrote eloquently in praise 
of the Carthusian Order, expressing the most profound 
admiration for its sanctity, and he ended by reproach- 
ing his old friend for his ingratitude to the Prior of 
Witham, whose charity and patience he had abused, 
and whose heart he had filled with sorrow. 1 

St. Hugh had hoped for good results from this 
letter, but it had no effect upon the obstinate resolution 
of the ex-canon of Lewes. Its eloquence was wasted 
upon him ; his determination was fixed, and nothing 
could shake it. While Andrew, his companion in 
rebellion, returned to his former monastery, Alexander 
entered the Abbey of Reading, which belonged to the 
monks of Cluny. He was at once taken into favour 
by the Abbot, who, on account of his reputation for 
learning, admitted him to his table and to close inti- 
macy. But the Abbot being afterwards recalled to 
Cluny, to govern the monastery there, and Alexander 
thus seeing himself deserted and friendless, began to 
repent bitterly of his conduct in leaving Witham. He 
addressed himself to St. Hugh, who was then Bishop 
of Lincoln, and implored him to allow of his being 
received again as a Carthusian. But the man of God 
firmly refused his consent to a step which would have 
been quite contrary to the principles which guided him 
in all such matters. 

In the idea of St. Hugh, the Carthusians, more than 
any other Order, were bound to be on their guard 

against these inconstant straws, as he called those who by 

1 Peter of Blois, Ep. 86. We learn from this letter that the excuse 
Alexander gave for quitting the Carthusians was that the Rule did not 
permit him to say Mass every day. Peter of Blois urges in reply that this 
is a mere pretext, because Superiors, presumably St Hugh, to prevent the 
scandal of such a desertion, had given Alexander permission to celebrate 
daily if he wished. A century or so later a similar permission was accorded, 
to all Carthusian priests. [Eo.] 


the least wind of temptation could be blown away from 
the good grain, that is to say, from the society of their 
faithful brethren. Such characters, he said, are better 
in other Orders, dedicated to a more active life, and 
may perhaps there find a more easy way of salvation. 
To keep the door of the Charterhouse rigorously closed 
against these restless spirits is really to act for their 
good ; for they are not fitted for the isolation of the 
Carthusian Rule. On the other hand, it was an 
immense service, he urged, to their own solitaries, to 
preserve them from such elements of disquiet, which 
could only bring distraction and disturbance into their 
peaceful lives. 

For these reasons, the Prior of Witham always 
refused to receive again any monk or lay-brother who 
had once left the Order. It was in vain for his best 
friends, or for persons in the highest position, to 
attempt to alter his decision in this matter ; their 
prayers were of no avail. Nothing was so dear to 
him as the peace of the souls confided to his care. The 
cloister, without peace, may become a real Hell ; with 
peace, it is the vestibule of Paradise. 

St. Hugh had no other thought than that of shutting 
himself up more resolutely in the solitude of his cell, to 
prepare himself for the death which no longer seemed 
far distant, when Providence called him to enter upon 
an entirely new career in which his sanctity was to 
make itself manifest to the world. The vital seeds of 
benediction, which had germinated during the long 
years of solitude, were now to push their shoots into 
broad daylight, and produce a magnificent harvest. 





AMONG the bishoprics which had suffered most from 
the abuse of kingly power, which St. Hugh had always 
condemned, was that of Lincoln, one of the largest and 
most densely populated in England. The attention of 
St. Thomas of Canterbury had already been drawn to 
the sad state of things in this diocese, which had 
been left vacant ever since the death of the last 
Bishop, Robert of Chesney, in 1167; and in one of 
his letters the great Archbishop had spoken strongly 
of this very long vacancy. 1 In 1173, that is to say, 
after six years had elapsed since the death of the last 
Bishop, King Henry II. had appointed a successor; 
but it was only his illegitimate son Geoffrey, who was 
a soldier, not at all fitted for the ecclesiastical life, and 
who in fact did not receive episcopal consecration 
until after the death of his father, when he was made 
Archbishop of York. We can easily understand that 
the diocese was no better off for such a nomination as 
this. It was necessary for the Pope to interfere in 
1181, and insist upon Geoffrey receiving Holy Orders, 
or else resigning his see. He chose the latter alter- 
native ; upon which Walter of Coutances was con- 
secrated Bishop of Lincoln in July, 1183; but in less 
than two years, in February, 1185, he was translated 
* St. Thomas of Canterbury, Letters, vol. i. p. 120. Edit. J. A. Giles, 


to the archiepiscopal see of Rouen, which had become 
vacant on the death of Archbishop Rotrou. 1 Thus, 
with the exception of this short interval, the Church in 
Lincoln had sustained a widowhood of nearly eighteen 
years, which was happily ended at last by the nomi- 
nation of St. Hugh. 

In the month of May, 1186, Henry II. assembled 
together at the Abbey of Eynsham, a number of Bishops 
and English nobles, when, for eight consecutive days, 
deliberations were held regarding the affairs of the 
kingdom. Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, with 
several other Bishops, lodged at the Abbey, the King 
rode in each day from his palace of Woodstock, only 
a few miles distant. Amongst the topics discussed by 
this assembly there was question of the filling up of 
more than one vacant bishopric. The Canons of 
Lincoln were summoned to meet the King, and bidden 
to hold an election. Nowithstanding the presence of 
Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, and many other 
ecclesiastics of high rank, the election was to be con- 
ducted according to one of the most objectionable 
articles of the Constitutions of Clarendon, which runs 
thus: "When it is necessary to appoint a Bishop to 
the vacant see, the King shall summon the chief 
personages 2 belonging to that see, and the election shall 
take place in the King's chapel, with his consent, and 
with the counsel of those personages of the kingdom 
whom he shall call to him for the purpose." 

1 See the Chronicle of Rouen in Labbe, Dibliotheca Nova, vol. i. p. 369 ; 
Martene, Antcdota. voL iii. ; R. de Diceto, pp. 615, 692, 726. 

2 It is hard to say whether the word persona here is, or is not, used in 
any technical sense. Obviously the signification in which the word was 
employed by Chaucer, and which still survives in the term "parson," is 
excluded by the circumstances of the case. Yet it bore this meaning even 
in St. Hugh's time, for we read in a document emanating from him of 

/. persona, presbyteri" deans, parish priests, and curates." But 

s this, the word persona seems to have been specially applied to 

certain members of the cathedral chapters. (Cf. Register of St. Osmund, 


There were plenty of candidates for the bishopric 
of Lincoln. Several of the Canons of the diocese were 
men of high rank, either members of the King's Privy 
Council, or holding office in the palace. They enjoyed 
great consideration on account of their learning, and 
also, it must be said, on account of their wealth. 
Although a bishopric might not have made them any 
richer, they would probably not have needed very 
much pressing to consent to wear a mitre. But God 
had already chosen His own candidate, and He had 
disposed the heart of the King in his favour ; for the 
King was now really in earnest in wishing to repair 
the evils caused by the long vacancy at Lincoln as 
soon as possible. The person upon whom his choice 
had so providentially fallen was no other than the holy 
Prior of Witham. The Archbishop of Canterbury 
cordially agreed with the King upon this point. So 
also did Reginald, Bishop of Bath, the envoy who had 
formerly brought Hugh from the Grande Chartreuse, 
and who, as a near neighbour to Witham, had long been 
a witness of his virtue and ability. 

The Canons duly proceeded to an election, but they 
could not come to an agreement, on account of the 
interested views of some of their number. It was then 
that the Prior of Witham was proposed. His repu- 
tation for sanctity, prudence, and learning was known 
to them all. No one, they were told, was more worthy 
of the bishopric and of their votes. This proposition 
caused great agitation in the souls of those who were 
seeking their own interest, rather than the interests 
of God and His Church. They made objections to this 
nomination on the plea that Hugh was ignorant of the 

Rolls Series, vol. i. p. 2.) So at Lincoln: " Noveritis etiam in ecclesia 
nostra quatuor esse personatus et totidem personas excellentes inter quas 
primum locum habet decanus, secundum cantor, tertium cancellarius, 
quartum thesaurarius. " (Wilkins, Concilia, vol. i. p. 533.) [ED.] 



language and customs of the country, and that his 
solitary life had not been a good preparation for the 
care of a large diocese. But their objections were 
easily overruled, and before long they came to think 
that no better candidate could be found than the man 
whom they were opposing. The Prior of Witham was 
therefore unanimously elected Bishop of Lincoln, to the 
satisfaction of the King and his courtiers. The Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury confirmed the election, and 
hastened to send notice of it to the holy Prior, who, 
in the retirement of his cell, knew nothing of what was 
passing. 1 

A deputation from the electors arrived at Witham, 
bearing letters from the King and the Archbishop, and 
informed St. Hugh of what had taken place at Eynsham. 
Without betraying any emotion, the Prior opened the 
letters and read the pressing summons to set out at 
once to join the King and the Primate, in order that a 
day might be fixed for his consecration. 

For any one less disinterested than the Prior of 
Witham the prospect could hardly have been without 
its fascinations. But upon St. Hugh the proffered 
bishopric seems to have made no impression whatever. 
He may no doubt have recalled to mind the prophecy 
of the old Carthusian monk, whose last illness he had 
consoled; but if he did, he took a resolution at all 
events to defer the fulfilment of that prophecy as long 
as ever it was possible. 

His reply was worthy of a son of St. Bruno, who 
remembered how that holy man had fled to the desert 
to escape from ecclesiastical honours. " I can under- 
stand," he wrote to the Canons of Lincoln, " why my 
lord the King and my lord the Archbishop wished to 
confer this honour upon me, of which I am most un- 

Vita, bk. iii. ch. i. Cf. Godwin, De Prcssulibus Anglice, 
p. 345 ; Ralph de Diceto, p. 631 ; Roger Hoveden, p. 63. 


worthy. It is natural for the King to desire in this way 
to show his esteem for the humble monk whom he has 
brought here from a far country; and the Archbishop, 
too, would no doubt be glad to see amongst his col- 
leagues on the episcopal bench more of those who, 
like himself, have once worn a monastic garb. 1 But 
you, my friends, and the other electors, must not 
be guided by these desires on the part of your Supe- 
riors. To you alone belongs the right of freely 
electing the pastor under whose guidance you are to 
live. And besides, the regular election of a Bishop 
ought to take place, not in the palace of the King, or 
even in a council of Bishops summoned by him, but in 
the chapter-house of the Cathedral of the diocese. 
There can indeed be no just reason for acting otherwise, 
unless there be an open schism or some other com- 
plication of equal gravity. Now let me express my 
humble opinion upon what has passed. I consider 
the election just held to be null and void. You must 
return to your church, and there, with the blessing of 
God, hold another election, after having invoked the 
aid of the Holy Spirit. Do not consult the will of the 
King, or of the Archbishop, or of any other human 
being ; but seek to do the will of God alone. I can 
say no more. May the Angel of the Lord accompany 
you on your return to Lincoln." 

The Canons were edified but not satisfied with this 
reply. However, as all their eloquence could obtain 
no other, they returned quickly to those who had sent 
them, and there the report which they gave of the 
Prior's answer and bearing excited general admiration. 

1 Baldwin was a Cistercian, and had been Abbot of Ford, in Devon- 
shire. At this time also there were in the English Episcopate, Gilbert 
Foliot, Bishop of London, who had been Abbot of Gloucester ; William 
Saltmarsh, Bishop of Llandaff, formerly Prior of the Augustinians at 
Bristol ; and Peter de Leia, Bishop of St. David's, a Cluniac monk from 


If any had previously cherished a prejudice against 
the foreign monk proposed to them, that prejudice 
was now removed, and when, in accordance with the 
directions of the Saint, a new and more canonical 
election took place, St. Hugh was again chosen unani- 

Another deputation at once set out for the Monastery 
of Witham, and this time no objections could be made 
on the ground of irregularity ; for they carried letters 
from the Chapter acquainting the Prior with his election 
according to all canonical rules, and begging him to 
accept the appointment. Hugh listened quietly to all 
they had to say ; again calmly read the letters they 
brought him ; and again refused. This time he based 
his refusal on other arguments. He said that it was 
a wonder to him that they could persist in asking a 
recluse like himself to leave his beloved solitude to 
undertake such a charge, and that for his own part it 
was out of his power to comply with their request. 
As a monk he was bound by his vow of obedience, and 
since the General of his Order had made him Prior of 
Witham, he could be relieved of that office by no other 
authority but that which had placed him there. 

The deputies were obliged to return again without 
a favourable answer ; but on hearing of this new 
objection, the Canons of Lincoln at once sent several 
of their most influential members on a mission to the 
Grande Chartreuse, supported by strong representations 
from the King and the Primate, there to beg the 
General of the Order to lay his commands upon 
St. Hugh, and thus compel him to accept the dignity 
offered to him. 

Dom Jancelyn then governed the Carthusian Order. 
He had been acquainted with St. Hugh before his 
departure for England, and had seen him more than 
once since, when the Prior of Witham attended the 


General Chapters. 1 He was not ignorant of the rare 
abilities and merits of the Saint, and of his fitness for 
the position which was proposed to him. He knew 
also with what favour King Henry regarded the holy 
Carthusian, and the great good which would be the 
result of his appointment. Therefore the General con- 
sented to make the sacrifice of one of his most cherished 
sons. It was a sacrifice not without precedent, for the 
Order of St. Bruno had already given way in several 
instances when a diocese had earnestly solicited to 
have some particular Carthusian for their Bishop. For 
more than a century (i.e., from 1132 to 1248) every 
Bishop of the see of Grenoble was a Carthusian ; and 
before the date of St. Hugh's death, one Cardinal and 
thirty-two Bishops or Archbishops had been drawn 
from the same retreat. 

These prelates did not cease to live as Carthusian 
monks, in so far as their new duties allowed ; and they 
always preserved their love for the Order, aiding thus 
in many ways to propagate it and establish new founda- 

We can understand, therefore, that the English 
Canons were much more successful at the Grande 
Chartreuse than they had been at Witham. They 
were received with great respect, and very soon 
obtained the favour they desired. This was a 
formal command addressed to Hugh, by his General 
and brothers in Religion, bidding him obey at once 
the Archbishop of Canterbury and the King, and 
accept the proffered dignity as the yoke of the Lord. 
The deputies hastened back to England and presented 
this ultimatum to their elected Bishop, who, on this 
occasion, could only resign himself to the will of God 
and begin to prepare as fervently as might be for 
episcopal consecration. 

i Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. xiv. 


The reluctance of our Saint to accept the dignity of 
the episcopate contrasted favourably with the eagerness 
with which some of his contemporaries sought after the 
like honours, and it inspires his biographer with a burst 
of admiration. " What a lesson," he exclaims, " for 
those who seek for ecclesiastical dignities at any price, 
and care not by what tortuous ways they reach the 
summit of their desires ! Ah ! Let them consider if 
their merits are greater than those of this holy man 
if their virtue is more perfect, or their minds more 
adorned with divine learning ! He was well versed in 
the holy art of avoiding sin and curing the sins of 
others ; he had mastered to perfection the doctrine of 
salvation ; yet, in his humility, he applied to himself 
those words of the Prophet Jeremias : ' I am not a 
physician ; I have no bread in my house ; take care 
not to make me a prince over the people.' But the 
more he considered his own nothingness and weakness, 
the more did he merit to receive the fulness of the 
Spirit of God." l 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. iv. 




THE Divine Pontiff, after the order of Melchisedech, 
had Himself prepared His servant for the episcopal con- 
secration. The noble birth of St. Hugh, and the faith 
and piety of the family from which he sprang, had given 
him that elevation of thought and that innate dignity 
which ought to characterize a Prince of the Church. 
His early retirement from the world, and his holy and 
hidden life at Villard-Benoit, had preserved him from 
all the dangers which might have been a snare to his 
innocence, and had formed a fitting preparation for the 
priesthood. His after life in his Carthusian cell had 
continued that work of preparation, not by wasting or 
paralyzing the talents committed to him, but by ferti- 
lizing and increasing them. There also he had made 
rapid strides in the path of perfection, so necessary for 
those who are to rule and guide others. Finally, he 
had been tried by many temptations, he had been called 
upon to sacrifice the peace of his solitude at the Grande 
Chartreuse, and to assume the cares and responsibilities 
of superiorship at Witham. All this was again a pre- 
paration for the opposition and ill-feeling he was to 
encounter as Bishop of Lincoln. 

In looking back upon the past, St. Hugh could not 
fail to see how the hand of God had been leading him 
on to this important change in his life ; nevertheless, 
he took immense pains also to prepare himself worthily 


for it. " During the time," says his biographer, " that 
the deputies were coming and going at Witham, Hugh 
was far from remaining idle. With all the energy he 
was capable of, he strove to make daily progress in 
compunction for past sins, and in that purity of heart 
which comes from incessant prayer. His preparation 
did not consist in getting ready magnificent vestments, 
or vessels for the service of the altar, but in disposing 
his soul for temptation. At the thought of the im- 
pending change in his life, he felt like the sailor at the 
approach of tempest, or the soldier, when the signal 
for battle is given. . . . And when the final deputation 
arrived, with the command from his Superior, and he 
could no longer refuse to obey, he quitted his beloved 
solitude in sorrow and fear, commending himself humbly 
to the prayers of his heart-broken community." l 

When the day of departure came, a troop of 
horsemen, mounted on magnificent animals, richly 
caparisoned, issued from the gates of Witham and took 
the road to London. Only one of their number showed 
no sign of ostentation in the equipment of his horse, 
and he carried at his saddle-bow in front of him a 
singular-looking bundle. This man, who might have 
been taken for a servant, was nevertheless the lord and 
chief of the party none other than the Bishop- 
elect of Lincoln, riding in the midst of his Canons. 
At the moment of his elevation in dignity, he would 
not abandon the humility of his former life, and he 
endeavoured to practise the counsel of the Wise Man : 
" The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all 
things." 2 Therefore he was distinguished from the rest 
of the brilliant cavalcade, only by the simplicity of his 
attire, and he was not ashamed to carry himself the 
bundle of sheepskins used for their bedding by the 
Carthusians of that time. It was in vain for his 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. iv, 2 Eccles. iii. 20, 


travelling companions to try to relieve him of his 
burden. He cared neither for their protests nor their 
raillery, being determined to make no change in his 
monastic habits until after his consecration. 

As they drew near to Winchester, their embarrass- 
ment increased, on hearing that several members of the 
royal family and a crowd of people were coming to 
meet the newly-elected Bishop. One of the chaplains 
in attendance could stand it no longer. He drew a 
knife and secretly cut the strap which secured these 
troublesome sheepskins the holy Carthusian being so 
absorbed in prayer and meditation that he never per- 
ceived his loss. 

Before his consecration, he was summoned to join 
the King and the Archbishop of Canterbury at the 
Council of Marlborough, which opened on the I4th of 
September. 1 Henry welcomed him with great joy, and 
lavished gifts upon him with truly royal munificence. 
He presented him with a quantity of gold and silver 
plate, he supplied the equipment which he needed for 
his household, and he expressed a wish to defray the 
greater part of the expense of his episcopal consecration. 

That imposing ceremony finally took place in St. 
Catherine's Chapel, Westminster, on the feast of 
St. Matthew, September 21, n86. 2 It was Baldwin, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, a monk and successor of 
the Italian monk, St. Augustine, who anointed the new 
Bishop within the precincts of that famous Abbey, 
where the Kings of England are crowned, and where 
rests the body of St. Edward the Confessor. William 
of Northall was consecrated Bishop of Worcester at 
the same time. The pontifical insignia of St. Hugh, 
by his own wish, were of the simplest kind, and with as 
little ornament as possible, from the mitre to the sandals. 
It was his humility which dictated this choice, and he 
1 Benedict, Rolls Series, vol. i. p. 352. 2 Ibid. p. 353. 


desired that these simple vestments should clothe his 
dead body on the day of his burial. Thus, in the 
midst of all the grandeur of his new position, it was the 
thought of death which was uppermost in his mind. 

\Yhatever progress he had hitherto made in per- 
fection, a new transformation was seen in him from 
the time of his episcopal consecration. He received 
the imposition of hands with the firm determination of 
becoming a true apostle. When the holy oil flowed 
over his head and his hands, his heart also was inun- 
dated with that divine charity which made him the real 
Father of his flock. When he received the crozier, 
he felt strong to carry it in defence of God's Church 
and to make the sceptres of the proudest kings bow 
before it, if need should arise. When the pastoral ring 
was put upon his finger, he conceived a tender and 
unchanging love for the Church of Christ, with whom 
he thus contracted an alliance, in the name of the 
Divine Spouse. When the mitre surmounted his brow, 
he came to form a more exalted idea of the dignity of 
the episcopate, and of the sublime virtues which should 
be its crown. And thus, when, towards the end of the 
ceremony, clothed in full pontifical robes, he turned 
round to the people and gave his first episcopal bene- 
diction, there might well have been applied to him, 
even then, those words of Holy Scripture which are 
now read in his honour in the Epistle of the Mass : 
" Behold, a great priest, one who has pleased God, and 
is found just in His sight. . . . God has raised him up, 
to put him at the head of His people. ... He has 
exalted him in the presence of kings, and has given him 
a crown of glory." l 

After his consecration, the new Bishop of Lincoln 
lost no time in repairing to his diocese, and being 

1 At his consecration St. Hugh made a profession of obedience to 
Archbishop Baldwin. It is printed in the Appendix. [ ED.] 


installed in his own Cathedral. It was the custom in 
those days, that the newly-consecrated prelate, on the 
evening before his solemn entry, should retire to the 
Priory of St. Catherine, without the walls of Lincoln, 
and there pass the night. 1 Hugh was glad of the 
opportunity to prepare in silence and prayer for the 
solemn entry upon his episcopal functions. He there- 
fore prolonged his devotions even beyond the night 
Office of Matins, until at length sleep overcame him in 
spite of himself. Then it was that in a dream he heard 
a heavenly voice speaking to him these words of the 
Prophet : " Thou goest to save thy people, to save 
them with the help of thy Christ." At this point the 
holy Bishop awoke, but he was comforted by the 
mysterious encouragement thus accorded to him by 
Almighty God, remembering also, as he did, what is 
said of the eternal triumph of the Blessed in the 
context of the same passage. 

When the day dawned, he set out barefoot for the 
Cathedral, surrounded by the inhabitants of Lincoln, 
who were eager to see and to call down blessings on 
him who came to them in the name of the Lord. The 
gentleness and paternal kindness which shone in the 
countenance of their new Bishop gained all hearts. 
Nevertheless, it was soon discovered that he was not 
wanting in firmness when he saw it was necessary to 
reform abuses. The first to experience this was the 
Archdeacon of Canterbury, who had been deputed 
by the Primate to perform the ceremony of the enthron- 
ization. He expected to receive a considerable present, 
as was the custom of the time. 2 But when he asked 

1 The Consuetudinarium, in the Lincoln registry, which is the authority 
for this statement, is of later date. The example of St. Hugh probably 
originated the custom ; for the Gilbertine priory of St. Catherine had only 
been founded a few years before by Bishop Chesney. [ED.] 

2 Antiquities of Canterbury. By Somner and Battely. The Third Council 
of Lateran, however, had just forbidden the practice. See Apendix. [ED.] 


for his honorarium, St. Hugh briefly replied : *' I will 
give for the throne what I have given for the mitre ; 
and no more." The Archdeacon, covered with con- 
fusion, had to content himself with the honour of 
having installed so upright a Bishop, thus receiving a 
lesson by which we may hope that he profited. 

Those who might have been tempted, under these 
circumstances, to accuse our Saint of avarice or 
parsimony, were witnesses on the same day of an 
instance of his great natural liberality. Preparations 
were being made for a great feast to all the inhabitants 
on the occasion of their Bishop's solemn entry, and the 
major-domo, whom Henry II. had himself chosen for 
him, came in due course to ask for his master's orders. 
The functionary suggested that on such occasions it 
was usual to kill some of the deer in the park belonging 
to the Cathedral, and added that it was for the Lord 
Bishop to say how many deer should be killed. " Oh," 
said St. Hugh, " you may take three hundred ; and if 
those are not sufficient, take as many more as are 
necessary." The story of St. Hugh's simplicity came 
to the ears of the King and his courtiers, who were 
accustomed to be much more sparing of their venison. 
They were prodigiously diverted at it, and the joke 
was so often repeated that the " Bishop of Lincoln's 
deer " passed into a proverb. 

One other incident, more picturesque and more 
remarkable, but not less authentic, is related of the 
early days of the Saint's episcopate, and has ever since 
been associated with his memory. We may surely be 
pardoned for pointing out its full significance, and for 
narrating it here with the details given by contem- 
porary writers. We shall thus be able to explain the 
impression it has left in popular tradition, and the 
reason why in Christian art St. Hugh is usually repre- 
sented with a swan at his feet. 



IT is no slur upon the authenticity of the facts recorded 
in the lives of the Saints to say that these lives are full 
of poetry. There is no essential opposition between 
poetry and history, and we may find many a beautiful 
poem written by the grace of God in the actions of His 
servants long before it is more or less imperfectly trans- 
lated into words by the hand of man. Among such poems 
there are none more lovely and graceful than those which 
tell us of the relations of the inferior creatures with 
certain chosen souls, to whom seems sometimes to have 
been granted a share of the privileges of our first parents, 
before the fall of man. Those who, when reading of 
these things, feel nothing but indifference or contempt, 
are much to be pitied ; and we may remind them of the 
saying of Saint Cadoc, a Welsh monk and bard of 
the sixth century : " No one is a true son of wisdom, if 
he is not also a son of poetry." Indeed, we should be 
depriving history of half its charm, if we were to 
suppress without examination all facts which bear upon 
them the stamp of the marvellous, and we should 
simply prove ourselves incapable of appreciating that 
Divine poetry the rules of which lie outside the ordi- 
nary laws of nature. " We need not be astonished," 
wrote the Venerable Bede, when treating of St. Cuth- 
bert's powers over the birds and beasts, "if he who 
loyally and faithfully obeys the Creator of the universe, 
sees creatures, in their turn, obey him." l 
1 Life of St. Cuthbert, ch. xiii. 


This wonderful sympathy with the innocent creatures 
of God has been a distinguishing trait of many of His 
saints, especially of St. Francis of Assisi, who, at the 
time of which we are now writing, was still in his 
early childhood. 1 But it is not only St. Francis who 
had this experience. The birds, which play such a 
charming part in the story of his life, had shown the 
same touching confidence, long before he came on 
earth, towards other mortified ascetics. We remember 
the raven which brought half a loaf every day to 
St. Paul the Hermit, and which, when St. Anthony 
came to visit him, did not fail to pro-vide a whole one. 
Another raven, acting in a contrary manner, always 
came to St. Benedict at Subiaco, to ask for a share of 
his meals. To these facts, which are attested, the one 
by St. Jerome, and the other by St. Gregory the Great, 
we may add a third, which is told of St. Guthlac, an 
English hermit, who died in the beginning of the eighth 
century. The swallows used to come twittering around 
him in crowds; they perched upon his shoulders and his 
knees, upon his head and his breast. With his own hands, 
the Saint helped them to build their nests under the 
eaves of his cell, and year after year his loving little 
guests came to take up their summer abode in the same 
spot. " O my Father," said an astonished visitor, 
** what have you done, to make these timid daughters 
of solitude trust you so entirely?" "Do you not 
know," replied the hermit, " that he who is united to 
his God by purity of heart, finds all these sinless 
creatures united to himself in like manner ? The birds 
of heaven, like the angels of God, may safely associate 
with those who have fled into the desert from the 
society of their fellows." 2 

Again, we may quote what is related by Sulpicius 

1 He was born in 1182. 
' 2 Life of St. Guthlac, Monks of the West, vol. v. p. 124. 


Severus of St. Martin of Tours. That holy Bishop of 
the fourth century, when visiting his diocese, and 
walking beside the banks of the Loire, followed by a 
crowd of disciples, drew their attention to the water- 
fowl called divers, which were swimming about on the 
river, catching and swallowing the fish. " Look," said 
the Saint, " there you have an exact picture of the 
devil : that is how he lies in wait for careless souls ; 
that is how he devours his victims, and yet is never 
satisfied." And immediately afterwards he commanded 
these water-birds to leave the river in which they were 
swimming, and live henceforth in the desert. We can 
imagine the astonishment of the crowd when, at the 
sound of his voice, the birds obediently left the water, 
and flew off in a body to the neighbouring uplands 
and forests. 1 

The holy Bishop of Lincoln, who had a great devo- 
tion to St. Martin, was favoured with a like power, 
although it was displayed in a different manner. 

We have already seen at the Grande Chartreuse 
how his gentleness attracted and tamed the birds and 
the squirrels. At Witham he had a similar experience, 
and for three years a bernacle-goose (burneta, or burneca) 
fearlessly frequented the cell of the good Prior, and 
eat from his hand. This bird never left him, except 
when she was hatching her eggs, and when that was 
over she reappeared, followed by all her brood. But 
the remembrance of this faithful bird is almost effaced 
by the still more wonderful behaviour of St. Hugh's 
celebrated swan, of which we have now to speak. 

The swan made its first appearance, either on the 
very day of the Saint's enthronement, or the day after, 
1 Sulpicius Severus, Epistles Hi., Monks of the West, vol. vi. ch. v. 
M de Montalembert, from whom we have borrowed this incident, and who 
relates also a number of others, equally wonderful, but not so well authen- 
ticated, thinks that the name martins-pecheurs, given to diving-ducks, has 
its origin in this occurrence. 


at a place called Stow, one of the episcopal manors, 
situated about eight miles from the Cathedral City. It 
was a very large and magnificent bird, " as much 
bigger than other swans as a swan is bigger than a 
goose," and its first proceeding was to exterminate as 
many as it could of those of its own species who 
were swimming about the lake when it took possession 
of it. A short time afterwards, St. Hugh paid his first 
visit to Stow, which was one of his episcopal resi- 
dences, and it occurred to the people to make a present 
of this noble bird to their Bishop. Instead of fiercely 
resisting, as every one expected, the swan allowed 
itself to be caught, and conducted to the Bishop's 
room. St. Hugh offered it some bread, which the 
bird eat from his hand ; and from that day, like the 
tamest and gentlest of creatures, it constituted itself 
the holy Bishop's inseparable companion, receiving his 
caresses with evident pleasure, and taking no notice of 
the numerous visitors who came and went. More than 
this, it was sometimes seen to bury its head and its 
long neck in the wide sleeves which St. Hugh wore, as 
though it were plunging them in limpid water, giving 
utterance all the time to cries of joy. When our Saint 
left Stow, the swan went back to its lake, but three 
or four days before the Bishop's return, by some mar- 
vellous intuition, the bird knew what was going to 
happen, and published it after its manner, beating the 
water with its wings, and flying round and round with 
joyous cries. Then leaving the lake, as if it would 
rush to meet its master, it stalked up and down the 
inner court, or even went so far as the gate. This 
friendship the bird extended to no one else, and it 
would even seek to protect St. Hugh against his visitors, 
or against the chaplains in attendance, threatening 
them with its beak and its wings. 

One of the most esteemed writers of that period, 


Giraldus Cambrensis, was an eye-witness of these facts. 
He spent several years at Lincoln during the time that 
the Saint was Bishop there, and mentions the swan in 
his work entitled, The Life of St. Remigiiis, 1 which was 
written while St. Hugh was yet living. As a competent 
observer, he carefully examined the creature, and from 
his account it appears to correspond closely with the 
description which naturalists give of the wild swan, or 
whooper, a notable characteristic of which is that the 
base of the beak shows no protuberance, and is deeply 
tinged with yellow. 

The chaplain of St. Hugh, who has incorporated 
this testimony in his narrative, adds the following 
details, derived from his own experience : " We can 
all bear witness," he says, " that when the swan was 
present it was impossible for any one to approach the 
Bishop without being attacked by it. While its master 
slept, it kept guard near the bed, and often caused us 
great embarrassment. For if we had occasion to pass 
anywhere near, the swan would raise its head threaten- 
ingly, and come forward to bar the way. If we tried 
to frighten it, or use force, it would utter the most 
hideous cries, so that we were obliged to retire, for fear 
of awakening the Bishop. Neither coaxing nor flattery, 
if I may so speak, could induce it to modify the hostility 
with which it regarded all the world in defence of the 
supposed interests of its master. 

" During the absence of the Bishop, the swan would 
condescend to receive its food from the hand of the 
bailiff: it would then come to the edge of the lake, but 
as soon as it was satisfied it would sail off again into 
the centre as far away as possible. When the Bishop 
returned, the bailiff was treated like every one else, 
and repulsed by the bird as though it had never seen 
him before. But its master was never forgotten, how- 

1 Chap. xxix. 



ever Ion?; his absence. On one occasion, when the 
Bishop had passed nearly two years without coming to 
Stow, the swan went to meet him with such speaking 
demonstrations of joy, that no one could fail to under- 
stand how impatiently it had been longing for his return. 
All the servants of the house and the neighbours can 
testify that it made known the Bishop's approach by 
its behaviour and its cries at a time when no one else 
was expecting him. It was curious to watch the bird's 
excitement as St. Hugh and his attendants gradually 
drew near. As soon as it heard its master's voice it 
uttered a cry of joy and advanced with extended wings ; 
it followed the Bishop into the inner court-yard, walked 
upstairs after him, and entered his bed-chamber, where 
it remained constantly unless it were driven out by 
force. The Bishop fed it with his own hands, cutting 
it a quantity of bread into convenient morsels of the 
length and thickness of a finger. This practice con- 
tinued more or less continuously for fifteen years. At 
length, however, on one memorable day, the Bishop 
arrived at Stow, but the swan did not come to meet 
him. The bird remained melancholy and sad in the 
middle of the lake, and for three days every effort to 
catch it and bring it into the presence of its beloved 
master was in vain. At the end of three days, it allowed 
itself to be caught, but, to the amazement of all, it gave 
no sign of joy at the sight of the Bishop. It stood with 
its head hanging down, a picture of sorrow and dejection. 
Six months afterwards the Bishop died, without ever 
again visiting Stow. Then we understood that the 
poor bird had wished to show its grief at bidding its 
master a last farewell. Nevertheless, the swan itself 
lived for some years longer." 1 

The contemporaries of the holy Bishop did not 
hesitate to recognize in these events the finger of God, 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. vii. 


who thus manifested the sanctity of His servant. The 
feelings of that age find expression in the words of a 
thirteenth-century poet, who wrote a short life of 
St. Hugh in verse, and thus describes the friendship 
of the swan for him : 

Hsec avis, in vita candens, in funere cantans, 
Sancti pontificis vitam mortemque figurat ; 
Candens dum vivit, notat hunc vixisse pudicum ; 
Cantans dum moritur, notat hunc decedere tutum. 

Pure white when living, greeting death with song 
Fit type, dear bird, of one thou lovedst long ; 
The Saint, in life as pure as thy white breast 
In death as fearless, lulled with a song to rest. 1 

We can understand now why painters and sculptors, 
who love to distinguish the saints by some special 
emblem, have placed the swan by the side of St. Hugh. 
No other inscription or device could so well express 
the sanctity and purity of the Saint in his labours on 
earth and the serenity of his death, as this graceful and 
realistic symbol, taken in this case not from a mere 
legend, but from authentic history. 

1 Vita Metrica, v. 1132 1135. Although science contradicts the idea 
here expressed of the song of the dying swan, yet we still speak of the last 
effort or the last master-piece of a hero or a genius as the chant du cygne 
the song of the swan. 



THE diocese of Lincoln was divided into eight arch- 
deaconries, which extended over more than nine 
counties, 1 and contained a numerous body of clergy, 
the direction of whom was the first care of the holy 
Bishop. Upon the sanctification of the priests really 
depends the sanctification of the whole Christian people; 
if the priesthood becomes as salt without savour, the 
general corruption will soon be unbounded. 

We have only to remember the long vacancy of the 
see of Lincoln, to form some idea of the deplorable 
state in which St. Hugh found his diocese, and of the 
terrible abuses which too often dishonoured the ministry. 
The necessary reforms could only be carried out by 
filling the most important posts with prudent and 
zealous coadjutors. Hugh spared no pains in endea- 
vouring to secure such men, and in making them 
participate in his views. 

He had the happy thought of appealing to his 
Primate, Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, and 
opening his heart to him : " You are too wise," he said, 
" my reverend Father, not to understand how important 

1 These counties were Lincoln, Rutland, Northampton, Huntingdon, 
Bedford, Buckingham, Oxford, Leicester, and Hertford. The county of 
Cambridge had only been detached at the beginning of the same century, 
on the foundation of the see of Ely in 1109. This vast diocese thus 
extended from the Humber to the Thames. It does not seem certain, 
however, that there were more than seven archdeaconries at the beginning, 
though there were certainly eight in the thirteenth century. f ED.] 


it is for my own soul, for the Church over which I rule, 
and also for yourself, that I should not be a useless 
pastor. Thanks be to God, I have the will to do what 
is right ; and it is for you to show me the means. 
I have a special need to surround myself with wise 
counsellors who will supply for my deficiencies. How 
.can I discover and choose such counsellors, I, who am 
a stranger in this country ? Your long experience must 
come to my assistance, since you have not feared to lay 
upon me the burden of the episcopate. Let me beg you 
then to give me, as my fellow-workers, some of those 
whom you have trained yourself by word and example." 

The Primate was exceedingly edified and pleased 
by this appeal. He admired the humility and self- 
distrust of the Saint, his zeal for the reform of his 
diocese, and the simplicity and delicacy with which 
he insinuated his dependence upon his Metropolitan. 
Two of the most distinguished and virtuous priests in 
England were sent to St. Hugh, in answer to his request, 
these were, Master Robert, of Bedford, and Master 
Roger de Rolleston. The former did not long survive 
to enjoy the confidence of his bishop, but the second 
was still living, and was Dean of the Chapter of Lincoln, 
when St. Hugh's biographer wrote. 1 

Other ecclesiastics of similar merit were attracted 
to the Saint, who sought them not only in England, 
but also in foreign universities. With their advice and 
concurrence, he undertook the government of his clergy 
with a firm hand. He took pains to become personally 
acquainted with each individual priest, especially with 
those whom he destined for positions of importance, 
or for the care of a parish. It is impossible to give any 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. viii. Roger Rolleston became Dean in 1195. 
By him was drawn up the account of the functions and privileges of the 
Cathedral Chapter of Lincoln, referred to in the Note at the end of this 
chapter, [ED.] 


idea of the amount of time and thought which he spent 
upon these nominations. " I cannot understand," he often 
said, " how any prelate can be glad to have a vacant 
benefice to bestow. For myself, I never feel such 
anxiety and distress of mind, as when I have to 
appoint some ecclesiastic, who ought to possess all the 
qualities which are necessary for ecclesiastical dignities. 
Nothing is more bitter to me than to find myself 
deceived in my hopes, and to discover that those I 
have chosen are unworthy of the confidence reposed in 
them." For even the penetration of the holy Bishop 
was sometimes at fault. He had often to trust advisers 
who, while they appeared to be animated by the fear 
of God, were really swayed by human considerations 
and sought only to advance the interests of their family 
or their friends. But as soon as he became aware of 
this faithlessness, he was extremely indignant, and 
banished the offenders from his counsels. Taught by 
experience, he came at last to appoint one of his clergy, 
a man whom he could thoroughly trust, to examine 
into the antecedents of all candidates for benefices, and 
after prudent investigation, to report to himself in each 
case upon the fitness of the person proposed. 

Whenever he conferred the title of Canon upon an 
ecclesiastic belonging to another diocese, it was always 
upon the condition that the new Canon should reside 
henceforth in the diocese of Lincoln. " It is right," 
said he, " that those who serve the altar, should live 
by the altar ; but those who do not discharge the duties 
of the ministry, ought not to reap the fruits of it. 
That is simply a theft from the Church, seeing that 
such offenders deprive her of the service which is justly 
her due." i 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. xi. We shall see later on, in the present 
volume, the reply of St. Huijh to a distinguished member of the Academy 
of Paris, on this same subject. (Bk. iv. ch. ii.) 



The Bishop of Lincoln carried this loftiness of mind 
and this apostolic firmness into every detail of his 
administration. He was not of the number of those 
useless dignitaries whom he condemned so strongly and 
so justly. He laboured incessantly to enhance every- 
where the esteem for ecclesiastical learning and holiness 
of life, and to make each one of his priests that 
"burning and shining light" of which the Gospel 
speaks. His taste for theological studies was displayed 
in the foundation of a School of Theology which soon 
became famous throughout the country, and which drew 
to Lincoln many gifted minds, amongst others, Gerald 
Barry the Welshman, Giraldus Cambrensis, as he is 
commonly called, who tells us that St. Hugh himself 
was very learned litUratissimus. The Professor who 
presided over the theological school was William of 
Leicester, better known as Gulielmus de Monte, or 
Montanus, 1 an exceedingly able man and Chancellor of 
the diocese. 2 No details have come down to us of the 
means which the holy Bishop took to diffuse abroad 
the benefits supplied by this centre of learning, but we 
know that the encouragement he gave to such institu- 
tions, and his clear answers to the professors or students 
who came to consult him, obtained for him the title of 
the "oracle of the schools " scholarum consultov. 

1 Giraldus Cambrensis says he was so called because he had previously 
given lessons in theology at Mont-Sainte-Genevieve, in Paris. (De rebus a 
se gestis, bk. iii. ch. iii. ; vol. i. of his complete works, p. 93.) Gulielmus 
Montanus must have been a voluminous writer, especially upon Scriptural 
subjects ; a long catalogue of works attributed to him is given by Tanner 
and Bale. Foremost amongst them is mentioned a Concordantia 
Bibliorum, which must have been amongst the earliest attempts of the 
kind. [Eo. J 

2 We learn from the account of the Lincoln customs supplied to Bishop 
Bricius, that the Chancellor was ex officio head of the Theological School, 
" officium cancellarii est scholas theologicas regere." No one could 
lecture in the city of Lincoln without his permission, and it was his 
privilege also to appoint the masters of all the schools in the county. [Eo.] 


At the same time, learning appeared to him of but 
little value if it was not accompanied by true piety, 
that wisdom from above, which has for its chief 
characteristics purity and the love of peace. " First 
chaste, then peaceable." l He never let himself be 
dazzled by the erudition of those whose private life 
was in any way disorderly, or who made themselves 
centres of faction and discord. He Sent them away 
without mercy, as soon as he perceived their faults. 
On the contrary, he always showed the greatest esteem 
for the virtuous and the amiable. 

Peace was what he loved and desired above all 
things; the peace of the souls committed to his care ; 
and the peace of his priests by their close union with 
him, their chief pastor. " Nothing in this life," he said, 
" is to be compared with the blessing of peace ; nothing 
is so much to be avoided as what causes strife and 
disunion." It was for this reason that he immediately 
banished from his diocese all those whom he found 
sowing the seeds of schism or discontent among their 

With that candour and frankness of speech which 
he always employed, he exhorted his fellow- Bishops 
to follow the same course. He was not afraid at such 
times to speak of the close union which existed 
between himself and his clergy. " I have learned," he 
would say, "that it is necessary for me to cherish 
peace and union with those under my authority. By 
maintaining this state of things, I fear no mortal man, 
not even the King; and I preserve that peace in my 
own soul, which is the pledge and prelude of the eternal 
rest." Especially did he congratulate himself on his 
relations with his Canons. " These good lords of 
mine," he said, when speaking of them, "have never 
given me cause for uneasiness. It is not that they find 

1 St. James iii. 17, 


me too kind and too gentle. On the contrary, I fear 
that I am wont to be very peppery (sum revera pipere 
aspeviov atque mordacior) and that when I am presiding 
over the meetings in Chapter, a very little is sufficient 
to upset me. But they make a virtue of necessity ; 
and put up with me as I am, after having chosen me 
in all liberty. I owe them an immense debt of gratitude 
for their perfect.obedience. Ever since I came amongst 
them, they have never resisted my will in anything 
whatsoever. When the Chapter is over, and they have 
all gone out, there is not one of them, I am certain, 
who doubts of my sincere affection for him, and for my 
own part, I am convinced that they in turn are all 
devoted to me." 

A very charming picture this, in which the simplicity 
and straightforwardness of the Saint's own character 
stands revealed. He possessed in fact that art so 
difficult of attainment, the art of making himself 
respected and loved at the same time, of being able 
to reprove without bitterness, and to praise without 
flattery, of mixing oil with wine in the remedies he 
applied, and of making strength go hand in hand with 
that meekness which is to conquer the earth. 

Two Pastoral Constitutions of St. Hugh, 1 issued for 
the benefit of his Cathedral Canons, have come down 
to us. The first of them runs thus : 

" Hugh, by the grace of God, Bishop of Lincoln, to 
all the Archdeacons and their officers established in 
the diocese of Lincoln, health and benediction in the 

" The care of the church of Lincoln, to which God 
has appointed us, compels us to turn our attention 
to matters which have heretofore been somewhat 

1 Two or three other similar Constitutions of St. Hugh, which have 
apparently escaped the notice of the author of this Life, will be touched 
upon in the Note at the end of the chapter. [ED.] 


neglected, in order that we may apply a suitable 
remedy. We are especially bound to watch over the 
interests, present and future, of the Canons who serve 
God in our Cathedral. Therefore, it is with grief we 
see an abuse, to which we can no longer shut our eyes, 
and which ought also to grieve you, to whom the care 
of the church at Lincoln specially belongs. This 
church, which has such a great number of children, is 
slighted by many of them, in that they do not take the 
trouble to visit her at least once a year, as is the custom 
in other dioceses, either by coming in person to the 
Cathedral, or by sending an offering in proportion to 
their means. We know that this omission is due more 
to the negligence of the clergy, than to the ignorance 
of the laity. Wherefore, we command you all, by 
virtue of our authority, to impress upon all deans, 
parish priests, and curates, throughout our diocese, the 
following points : In every parish the clergy must 
inform their flock, that at the feast of Pentecost, each 
family is bound to send one or more of its members to 
the accustomed place appointed for the processions, 
with suitable offerings, to be given for the remission of 
their sins, as a proof of obedience, and as a token 
of their remembrance of their mother, the Church of 
Lincoln. 1 You must also require the Deans to order 

1 These Pentecostal processions made to the Cathedral Church of the 
diocese, seem to have been of Norman origin. The earliest mention of 
the custom which I have found is to be met with in the canons of the 
Concilium Juliobonense of A.D. 1080, which was held by William the 
Conqueror and William, Archbishop of Rouen, at Lillebonne. In the gth 
of the canons drawn up by this assembly it is provided : " Let the priests 
once a year about the time of Pentecost come with their processions to the 
mother church, and let a pennyworth of wax (ceres denarata), or its 
equivalent for each household be offered at the altar for the lighting of 
the church." Not very much later than this, about 1105, we find from the 
Life of St. Bernard, Abbot of Tiron (Acta Sanctorum, April, vol. ii. p. 235), 
that vast crowds used to assemble at Coutances about the solemnity 
of Pentecost, " to perform in accordance with the custom of their country 


the parish priests and curates under their jurisdiction, 
by our authority, to keep an accurate list of their 
parishioners and to make answer at Pentecost to the 
said Deans and such clerics as we shall appoint for the 
purpose, informing them which of their parishioners 
have conformed to our order, as obedient children, and 
which have neglected to perform this duty." 

Another Pastoral Letter, also in favour of the 
Canons of Lincoln, is conceived in the following terms : 
" Hugh, by the grace of God Bishop of Lincoln, to his 
beloved sons in Christ, the Dean and Chapter of our 
Cathedral Church of Lincoln, health and benediction in 
the Lord. Since it is our ardent desire for the honour 
of Almighty God and of the Blessed Virgin Mary His 
Mother, at all times to see the Divine Offices celebrated 
in our Cathedral with every suitable solemnity; we 
therefore, for the attainment of this end, and in the 
interests of our Canons and their Vicars, concede the 
following rights to you, the Dean and resident Canons, 
or in the absence of the Dean, to the Sub-Dean and 
resident Canons. In virtue of our episcopal powers, 
we authorize you to compel those Canons who do not 
keep residence, to appoint suitable vicars in their place 
and to furnish them with such adequate means of 
support as the chapter of resident Canons may decide 
upon by common consent, and if such non-resident 
Canons neglect to make this provision, you are to con- 
strain them to do so by detaining the revenues of their 

(juxta morem patrice], the procession which they were bound to make to 
the principal church of the diocese." Similar early allusions to these pro- 
cessions may be found in the case of Auxerre and other French dioceses. 
In England a great dispute had arisen, only a few years before St. Hugh's 
time, about this very question of the Pentecostal procession and its 
offerings, between Robert de Chesney, Bishop of Lincoln, and the Abbot 
of St. Albans. The custom seems to have lasted in this country down to 
the Reformation, and we find mention of the Pentecostal*, as these special 
dues were called, even in the seventeenth century. [ED.] 


pn bend. Moreover, we authorize you to take action 
by means of ecclesiastical censures against all unjust 
detainers of the revenues of your common fund, and 
against all who have done injury or hurt to either the 
persons or the property which belong to the said 
common fund ; and these canonical penalties shall be 
enforced until complete restitution or satisfaction has 
been made, always without infringement of the rights 
of the Bishop and his authority. Moreover, no Arch- 
deacon, or Dean, or any other officer of the see of Lincoln 
may absolve those whom you have excommunicated or 
laid under an interdict, without permission from the 
Bishop, or from you. And we command that all 
sentences pronounced by you, be executed by the Arch- 
deacons, Deans, and other officers of the diocese." 1 

Besides the light which these letters throw upon the 
ecclesiastical discipline of the twelfth century, they also 
bear witness to the zeal of St. Hugh in recalling all 
his clergy to a sense of their duties, in re-establishing 
good customs which had fallen into disuse, and in 
making his authority felt and acknowledged in the 
smallest country parish, as much as in his Cathedral 

Under such a government as this, a great change 
was soon manifest in the diocese of Lincoln ; so great, 
in fact, as to attract the attention and admiration of all 
serious observers. Some of the most respected among 
the Bishops were so struck by the success of St. Hugh, 
that they desired to learn the secret of it for themselves. 
Even Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, had recourse 
to the advice of his suffragan in an affair of moment, 

1 The original Latin text of these constitutions may be found in an 
appendix to the French edition of this Life. It is not reproduced here, as 
it is accessible to English scholars among the works of Giraldus Cambrensis 
(Rolls Scries) vol. vii., and also in the Lincoln Cathedral Statutes, pp. 307, 


which at this time was troubling the peace of that 
ancient Cathedral City. The difficulty we refer to was 
caused by a collegiate church which the Primate had 
begun to build on land belonging to the see, in honour 
of St. Stephen and St. Thomas of Canterbury. The 
monks of the Cathedral, who were the custodians of 
the relics of the great English Martyr, conceived this 
to be an infringement of their rights and privileges, 
and opposed the building of the new church with all 
their might. It was in vain that the Primate, who had 
just received from Pope Urban III. 1 the archiepiscopal 
pall and the title of Legate, obtained also that Pontiff's 
special sanction to carry out this design. The monks 
knew that the cause could be again referred to 
Rome, and that another decision might be pronounced 
reversing the former one. This was the possibility 
which St. Hugh at once foresaw when the Archbishop 
asked for his advice in the matter, and which he urged 
in his reply. "My Lord Archbishop," he wrote, "if 
this work you have undertaken, should be the cause 
of a schism between you and your Chapter, it will end 
so far as the monks are concerned in a great weakening 
of religious discipline, and so far as regards yourself in 
a serious blow to your authority. The souls of your 
flock will suffer much, as it is easy to foresee. The 
King will want to interfere, and your power will have 
to bend to his. The Sovereign Pontiff will change his 
mind, when he has listened to the complaints which 
are sure to be made against you, and will command 
you to pull down your church, even if it be completely 

The Archbishop, who had this design very much at 

heart, pleaded that St. Thomas a Becket had himself 

intended to build this church in honour of St. Stephen. 

" Yes," replied St. Hugh, " and do you content yourself 

1 See Baronius, Annul, ad annum 1186, n. 16. 


with having had the same intention as the holy martyr. 
If you will take my humble advice, you will stop at the 
intention, and let the work proceed no farther." 

But other, and more pleasing counsels, prevailed 
with the Primate, who continued building his church, 
instead of remembering those words of Divine wisdom : 
" The soul of a holy man discovereth sometimes true 
things, more than seven watchmen that sit in a high 
place to watch." 1 Everything that the man of God 
foretold, was realized to the letter.' 2 A pontifical decree 
commanded the entire demolition of the edifice, and 
the Primate had to obey, to his great chagrin, regretting 
when too late that he had not taken the advice of the 
Bishop of Lincoln, who was only confirmed more and 
more in his pacific ideas. We shall see later on, how 
the Saint was called upon by the Pope to act as 
arbitrator in another dispute between the same monks 
and the successor of Baldwin. It is true that before 
this came to pass he was himself engaged in more than 
one conflict, but he had never to fight against his own 
clergy. On the contrary, it was always in defence of 
his ecclesiastical family that he felt himself obliged to 
do battle. If ever he made war, it was with the hope 
of securing a more lasting peace in the end. 


IT is perhaps to be regretted that the author, in pre- 
paring this account of the relations of St. Hugh and 
his clergy, should apparently not have had before him 
the extremely interesting statement which we possess 
describing the functions, ceremonial, privileges, &c., of 

1 Ecclus. xxxvii. 18. 

5 Peter of Blois, who was appointed by the Archbishop to plead his 
cause with the Pope, has left us (let. 211) interesting details of this affair. 
(Migne, P.L. vol. ccvii. cot 492.) 


the Cathedral Chapter of Lincoln at the end of the 
twelfth century. The documents I refer to are preserved 
in a MS. of the Advocate's Library, Edinburgh, whence 
they were long ago extracted and printed in the first 
volume of Wilkins' Concilia Anglic. 1 " The fame of 
the church of Lincoln," to quote the late Mr. Henry 
Bradshaw's account of the matter, " had become so 
widespread, especially during the recent episcopate of 
St. Hugh (1186 1200), that when Bricius, Bishop of 
Moray, established a miniature Chapter of eight Canons 
in his newly-settled cathedral church of Spyny, he laid 
down that they were to have all the privileges and 
immunities and be subject to the customs of the great 
church of Lincoln." He accordingly obtained from the 
Dean, Roger de Rolleston, and other members of the 
Chapter, a careful statement of their customs, and 
although in the muniment-room of Lincoln itself we 
now find amongst the various Registra Consuetudinum only 
compilations of a very much later date, the summary 
supplied to Bishop Bricius at the beginning of the 
thirteenth century has happily been preserved to us in 
Scotland. A Papal confirmation of the charter of 
erection of the Chapter of Spyny is still in existence, 
and it is dated 1214. The customs recorded in the 
accompanying document may therefore be taken as 
representing the practice of St. Hugh's own time, the 
more so as the statement of them was drawn up by 
Roger de Rolleston, who was Dean under St. Hugh, 
and was chosen by him as one of the executors of his 
will. No better evidence could be found for the 
harmonious relations between the Carthusian Bishop 
and his secular Canons than this adoption of the 
Lincoln customs by visitors from the far north. It 
would be impossible here to give any satisfactory 
account of the details of these customs. I will content 

1 Pp. 534, seq. 


myself with calling attention to one very prominent 
feature, which we know to have been ratified and even 
amplified by St. Hugh himself in a formal document, 
which Roger de Kolleston thought it worth while to 
copy and to transmit with the summary to Bishop 
Bricius. This constitution declares and confirms the 
absolute immunity of the Canons in their prebends from 
all fees and exactions on the part of the Bishop or 
the Archdeacons of the diocese, and even guarantees 
the freedom of the parishioners resident upon these 
prebends from any charges or legal proceedings of the 
Archdeacons. The powers given to the Canons in this 
way were so great that they were recognized as pos- 
sessing jurisdiction over their parishioners in all civil 
and ecclesiastical causes of every kind, without inter- 
ference of any man, except that an appeal lay from their 
decision to the Dean, the Chapter, or the Bishop. 
" And this," says Roger de Rolleston, " we say without 
any distinction, whether the aforesaid parishioners be 
clerics or laymen, whether they be the men and the 
vassals of the canon himself, or of our lord the king, 
or of the bishop, or of any baron, or knight, or franklin 
(frankelani), or any other man." 

The documents of which we have been speaking 
also furnish some interesting information about the 
ceremonial followed by the Lincoln Canons in the time 
of St. Hugh. This, however, hardly belongs to the 
present place. I will only remark that it is rather 
startling to our modern ideas of reverence for the 
Blessed Sacrament to find that the Canons remained 
seated in their stalls during nearly the whole of the 
Canon of the Mass, only rising to their feet for a few 
moments at the Elevation to bow towards the altar, 
and during the Pater noster. This of course was due to 
no lack of reverence for holy things, but was an 
inheritance from the different system of an earlier age. 


Such usages are mainly if not entirely matters of con- 
vention. A Jew wears his hat out of a motive of 
respect where we for the same reason remove it. 

Another constitution of St. Hugh, still preserved 
to us among the miscellaneous contents of the Lincoln 
Liber Niger, was an arrangement to provide for the 
daily recitation of the entire psalter (the hundred and 
fifty psalms) among the different Canons. There was, 
says the preamble to the document, an ancient institute 
(antiqua institutio) of the Church of Lincoln, by which 
one Mass and one psalter were said every day on behalf 
of benefactors living and dead. " We are then told that 
all the Canons are bound by oath to observe the reason- 
able customs (rationabiles consuetudines) of the Church ; 
that the customary mode of saying the psalter (the 
assignment of particular psalms to particular members 
of the Chapter) had been lost ; and that to save the 
Canons from violating their oath, an order had been 
drawn up by the Dean and other discreet members of 
the Chapter, which was now passed in Chapter, the 
Bishop (St. Hugh) being present and confirming the 
order." From the data given the statute must belong 
to the closing years of the twelfth century (1195 1200). 1 
In accordance with this distribution, St. Hugh himself 
will have had to recite every day for the souls of the 
benefactors of this church the first three psalms, Beatus 
vir, Quare fretmierunt, and Domine quid multiplicati sunt. 

Finally, a brief reference may be made here to 
certain disciplinary ordinances promulgated by St. Hugh 
in his diocesan synods, and preserved to us in the 
chronicle of Benedict, sub anno 1186. Of these some- 
thing more will be said further on in the Note to 
Book III. ch. 4. [ED.] 

1 Lincoln. Cathedral Statutes, edited by Henry Bradshaw, pp. 37, 38, 



AFTER the conquest of England by the Normans, new 
and more severe forest laws oppressed the Saxon 
people. "The chase," writes Lingard, "was the 
principal amusement of our Norman kings, who, for 
this reason, took possession of all the forests throughout 
the kingdom, and cared much more for the preservation 
of their wild animals, than for the life or well-being of 
their subjects. The royal forests had their own officers 
and magistrates ; they were governed by a peculiar 
code of laws, and their immunities were jealously 
maintained in the court of the chief forester, a bloody 
tribunal, where the slightest offence was punished by 
the loss of eyes or members." 1 Perhaps it is just to 
remark here that these cruel laws seem to have been 
designed, not only to protect the pleasures of the 
Norman kings, but to keep the Anglo-Saxons from 
rebellion, by depriving them of their forests, always 
the last asylum of a conquered race. 

When Henry II. came to the throne, he modified 
some of the barbarous ordinances of his predecessors, 
and substituted fines and imprisonment, for mutilation 
or death. 2 But even with these mitigations, the forest 

1 See Lingard's History of England, vol. i. ch. xii. 

a It seems difficult in the face of the statements of Matthew Paris (sub 
anno 1232), quoted by Mr. \\ . K. Fisher in The Forest of Essex, p. 70, to 
believe that the punishment of mutilation was fm.illy ivinitu-d by Henry II., 
for offences against the forest laws. The credit of this mitigation is given 
by Matthew Paris to his successors Richard and John. Bishop Stubbs 


laws weighed heavily on the people, and were univer- 
sally hated, as we read in a letter of Peter of Blois, 
who echoes the complaints which were sounding all 
around him. He wrote eloquently to the King : " The 
innumerable agents of the foresters and rangers, greedy 
to satisfy their avarice and cupidity, rob and despoil 
the poor in every way ; they lay snares for the simple, 
they show favour to the wicked, they oppress the 
innocent, they rejoice and congratulate each other on 
doing as much evil as possible. . . . They hunt the 
poor, as if they were wild animals, and devour them 
fora prey." 1 The chaplain of St. Hugh expresses his 
indignation in equally strong terms. " Among the 
scourges of England," he says, " we must put in the 
first rank, the tyranny of the foresters, a tyranny which 
ravages the whole country. Violence is their law, 
rapine is their glory. They have a horror of justice, 
and look upon innocence as a crime. No condition, 
no nobility, no dignity, with the single exception of 
royalty itself, can secure a man against their atrocious 
cruelties. The first great struggle of Hugh was against 
this tyranny, and it was also the occasion of his first 
triumph." 2 

As we have already seen, St. Hugh, while still Prior 

says : " The punishments prescribed by the Assize of the Forest (A.D. 1184), 
are milder than those usual under Henry I. , but the rigour with which the 
law was enforced was a great ground of complaint against Henry II., and 
this is altogether the part of his administration which savours most strongly 
of tyranny." (Select Charters, p. 157.) [ED.] 

1 Petri Blois, Epist. 95. Migne, P.L. vol. ccvii. p. 298. 

2 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. 9. "The husbandmen," says John of 
Salisbury, " are kept from their fields so that the wild beasts may roam 
over them. That these may have more room for grazing, the soil is taken 
from the cultivators, the newly sown grounds from the farmers, the pastures 
from the herdsmen and shepherds ; the beehives are shut out from the 
flower beds, and the bees themselves are scarcely allowed their natural 
liberty." (Polycraticus, bk. i. ch. 4.) It was intended that the bees should 
be driven to take shelter in the woods, where the honey would belong to 
the King. [ED.] 


of \Yitham, was extremely indignant with the foresters. 
Now that he had become a Bishop, and therefore the 
pastor and protector of the people committed to his 
care, he could not shut his eyes to the oppressive 
conduct of these officials, and he determined to employ 
against them, not only the weapons of vigorous protest, 
but also of ecclesiastical censure. A less intrepid 
prelate would at least have waited until time had 
strengthened his position and influence ; and there 
was the very recent memory of the holy Martyr of 
Canterbury, to illustrate the danger incurred by any 
prelate who was bold enough to excommunicate the 
officers of the King. But St. Hugh did not shrink from 
taking advantage of the first opportunity that occurred, 
for declaring war against the foresters. As soon as 
they attempted to interfere with the tenants and 
subjects of the Church of Lincoln, who should have 
been protected from their exactions by ecclesiastical 
immunity, the holy Bishop, then recently enthroned, 
at once excommunicated the chief forester himself, 
named Galfrid, without reference to the King or his 
possible wishes. When the news of this bold step was 
brought to Henry II., he fell into a violent passion. 1 
Such an act was a direct violation of the privilege he 
had claimed for the crown at Clarendon. '* No tenant 
in capitt" so the clause ran, " and no officer of the 

1 There is no doubt that the forests were in a very immediate way 
subject to the King, and that St. Hugh Was justified, as we have seen 
above, p. 109, in holding him personally responsible for abuses. Bishop 
Stubbs talks of his " uncontrolled jurisdiction " in this province, and notes 
that the forests were "out of the scope of the common law of the realm." 
Nevertheless, so well informed a writer as Mr. W. R. Fisher declares : 
"Much of the hardship suffered by the inhabitants of the forests arose 
from the arbitrary regulations of the forest officers and from the manner 
in which they enforced the laws, as much as from the laws themselves. 
This appears from various ordinances, by which relief was given against 
demands not directly authorized by the general forest laws and by the 
proceedings of the forest courts." (Forest of Essex, p. 52.) [ED.] 


King, shall be excommunicated, or his land laid under 
an interdict, unless the matter is first referred to the 
King, or if he be absent from the country, to his officers, 
in order that justice may be done." l Even though he 
had retracted this ordinance with the other Constitu- 
tions of Clarendon, the King, nevertheless, expected it 
to be observed in practice. However, he disguised his 
resentment at first, and waited until some other event 
should occur which would give him a favourable 
opportunity for showing his displeasure with the Bishop 
and obtaining reparation. 

While matters were in this state, a Canon of Lincoln 
died, and left his prebend vacant. The courtiers being 
informed of this, advised the King to write to the 
Bishop, in order to obtain this important benefice for 
one of themselves. In this way, they thought they 
would be giving the Bishop an opportunity of re- 
instating himself in the King's favour, and at the same 
time would be serving their own interests. Henry II. 
did not hesitate to do as was suggested to him, for he 
was very anxious to know exactly how he stood with 
this new Bishop of his, and how far he could go. 

The messengers of the King had not to take a 
very long journey. Henry was then at his castle of 
Woodstock, and the Bishop was at Dorchester, which 
was only thirteen miles from the royal residence. Hugh 
read the King's letter, and without misunderstanding 
the gravity of the situation, made his decision at once. 
Instead of granting the request, or even setting out to 
explain by word of mouth the reason of his refusal, 
and to justify his conduct with regard to the Grand 
Forester, he simply replied to the messengers: "Tell 
the King that ecclesiastical benefices are not to be 
bestowed upon courtiers, but upon ecclesiastics. Holy 
Scripture does not say that those who possess them 
l Constitutions of Clarendon, art. 7. 


are to be officials of the palace, or of the treasury, or 
of the exchequer, but only that they must be servants 
of the altar. My lord the King has plenty of other 
rewards for those in his employment ; he has temporal 
^ifts to give them, in exchange for temporal service. 
And if he wishes to save his soul, he must allow the 
soldiers of the King of kings to enjoy the revenues 
which they need, without seeking to despoil them." 
These were all the compliments and excuses which the 
messengers carried back with them. Hugh did not 
even take the trouble to write his answer, but dismissed 
his visitors without further ceremony. 

When the Bishop's reply was received at Woodstock, 
Henry could not conceal the fury which took possession 
of him, and the courtiers were not slow to fan the flame. 
" My lord," they said, " now you see the ingratitude 
of this man, whom you have loaded with benefits ; you 
see what has been the end of all your generous efforts, 
you, who took so much pains to raise him to the 
episcopate. If he contented himself simply with showing 
you no gratitude, we should be less astonished. But 
now he insults you, in return for the honour you have 
done him. It is very easy to foretell what you may 
expect from him in the future, when he already begins 
to treat you with contempt, and has pronounced such 
a harsh sentence upon one of your chief officers." 

There was not much need to excite the anger of the 
passionate monarch, who, nevertheless, still kept it 
under a certain control, and sent a new messenger to 
the Bishop, commanding him at once to appear in the 
royal presence at Woodstock, and give an explanation 
of his conduct. Hugh obeyed the King's mandate, and 
set out with a serene countenance, and a tranquil heart. 
What cause had he for fear, when he was resolved to 
sacrifice all for the sake of duty? The Bishop of 
Lincoln would have hesitated no more than St. Thomas 


of Canterbury, to shed his blood in defence of the 
liberty of the Church. 

Perhaps Henry II. had not the intention of pro- 
ceeding to extremities, but he wished at least to 
humiliate him, and force him to make a public repara- 
tion for the supposed insult. Therefore, when he 
heard that the Bishop was approaching, he called the 
members of his Court around him, mounted his horse, 
and retired into a neighbouring forest. There he 
stopped, sat down in a pleasant woodland glade, 
ordered his courtiers to sit in a circle round him, and 
forebade any of them to rise in the presence of the 
disgraced Bishop, or to return his greeting. A few 
moments afterwards, St. Hugh came upon the scene ; 
he saluted the King and his Court, but no one made any 
response to his courtesy. Then, without being in the 
least embarrassed by the freezing silence, he walked up 
to the King, gently touched the shoulder of the courtier 
next him, to make room for himself, and calmly sat 
down beside the King. The silence continued, the 
King kept his eyes fixed upon the ground. But after 
a few minutes, feeling the constraint and awkwardness 
of the situation, he asked one of his attendants for a 
needle and thread, and began to sew a little piece of 
linen round one of his fingers, which was cut. All the 
while, like a man too angry to speak, he said not 
a word, nor took the slightest notice of the intruder. 

The Bishop perfectly understood the meaning of 
this theatrical reception, but he was not at all afraid. 
He turned to the King, and said with a familiarity which 
only their former friendship could have warranted : 
" Now, do you know, you look exactly like your 
ancestress at Falaise ! " At this unexpected sally, the 
point of which he immediately understood, the King 
was seized with a fit of uncontrollable laughter. The 
courtiers around him were stupefied with astonishment. 


A few of them, who caught the drift of the Bishop's 
allusion, were amazed at his audacity at such a time, 
and scarcely dared to smile. The others, who had not 
understood the pleasantry, looked uneasily from one to 
another in search of an explanation. The King himself 
supplied it. His mood had suddenly changed, and the 
serene confidence of the servant of God had completely 
calmed his resentment. "You do not understand," he 
said, smilingly, " the impertinence which this foreigner 
has just addressed to me. I will explain his words 
to you. The mother of my ancestor, William of 
Normandy, who conquered England, belonged originally 
to the common people. She was a native of Falaise, 
a Norman town famed especially for its tan-yards. 1 
And, seeing me occupied in sewing this piece of linen 
round my finger, he dared to remind me of the fact, 
and to compare me to the glove-makers of Falaise." 

The King had laughed, therefore he had laid down 
his arms. Nevertheless, after having thus graciously 
accepted a compliment, which certainly was more 
audacious than flattering, he began to question the 
Bishop of Lincoln about what he had done. He did 
so abruptly, but with kindness. " Now," he said, 
" tell me, holy man, why you have excommunicated 
my Grand Forester, and why, afterwards, you refused 
me a small request, without taking the trouble to come 
to me, or to send any excuse by my messengers ? " 
The Bishop replied : " My lord King, I know all you 
have done to obtain for me the episcopal dignity. And 
it follows from that, that your soul would be in great 
danger if I did not fulfil all the duties of my position, 
and if I did not defend the interests of the diocese 
which you have committed to my care. That is why 

1 William the Conqueror, grandfather of Henry II., was a natural son 
of Robert, Duke of Normandy, and of Hervele, or Harlotte, the daughter 
Qf a tanner at Falaise. 


I have been obliged to punish with ecclesiastical 
censures, an oppressor of my Church ; that is why I 
could not bestow a prebend upon a person who had no 
canonical right to it. Was it necessary for me to 
consult your Excellence, before taking action in these 
matters ? I do not think so. It did not seem to me 
either necessary or expedient, and I believed that your 
own good sense would have shown you what was right, 
and that my conduct would have had your approval." 

This firm and dignified answer was well received 
by the King. He could not deny the justice of it ; he 
affectionately embraced the man of God, and recom- 
mended himself to his prayers. Nothing more was 
said about the prebend, and the absolution of the 
Grand Forester was left entirely in the hands of the 
Bishop. Hugh exacted the usual conditions. This 
distinguished personage, who eventually showed every 
sign of a sincere repentance, had to submit himself, as 
well as those who aided and abetted him, to a public 
flagellation. After having received the discipline, he 
was absolved and blessed by the Bishop. What is 
more, he understood the uprightness of the Saint's 
intentions so well, that he afterwards became one of 
his greatest friends, and rendered him every possible 

From this time, the censures of the holy Bishop 
were much feared, and his authority, thus vindicated 
in the beginning of his administration, was completely 
established without any further difficulty, both in his 
own diocese and at Court. By this fresh victory, he 
was delivered from the importunities of the King's 
followers, who would never otherwise have ceased to 
ask for the benefices of his Church ; and at the same 
time, he secured their esteem and their respect. Many 
of them were so entirely devoted to him, that he used 
to say, if it were not for the bonds which attached them 


to the Court, he would have been glad to appoint them 
to some of the best prebends in his gift. 

Thus delivered, at all events for a time, from any 
difficulties on the part of the King, Hugh now devoted 
himself entirely to the care of his diocese, and to all 
good works for the glory of God, and the salvation of 
souls. Amongst these, one of the most pressing and 
not the least important, was the rebuilding of the 
Cathedral Church of Lincoln, of which we have now 
to speak. 



THE Venerable Bede tells us that one of the first stone 
churches in England was built at Lincoln, in the 
seventh century, by Paulinus, Bishop of York, who 
began the conversion of this ancient city by making 
a Christian of its Governor. 1 This church, remarkable 
for its beauty, considering the date of its construction, 2 
became a place of pilgrimage, famous for the miracles 
worked there. Nevertheless, it was not a Cathedral, 
and its memory was effaced by the magnificent building 
afterwards erected, which is one of the glories of the 
architecture of the middle ages. 

The history of this church is also the history of the 
diocese of Lincoln. We will touch briefly upon its 
principal features, in order to give prominence to the 
part taken by St. Hugh in this immortal creation. 

In its primitive form, the Cathedral of Lincoln was 
built by the first Bishop of the diocese, Remigius, 
formerly Abbot of Fecamp, who came to England in 
the train of William of Normandy, and was appointed 
Bishop of Dorchester in 1070. Five years later, by 
order of a Council held in London, it was enjoined that 
all episcopal seats which were exposed to attack from 
their unprotected situation should be transferred to 
some walled town. It seems to have been about this 
time, therefore, that Remigius, acting on the decision 

1 Venerable Bede, Hist. Ecclesiast. bk. ii. ch. 16. 

2 " Ecclesiam operis egregii de lapide fecit." (Ibid.) 


of Pope Alexander and Archbishop Lanfranc, 1 trans- 
ferred his episcopal throne to Lincoln, where a fortified 
castle, constructed within the last few years, could 
protect his residence, and later on the Cathedral which 
he hoped to build. Full of enthusiasm and energy, as 
well as of piety and charity to the poor, this worthy 
predecessor of St. Hugh laid the foundations of an 
imposing edifice in the Byzantine style, which was 
much in vogue at that time, especially in Normandy. 
The work went on rapidly, and the Bishop was pre- 
paring for the solemn consecration of his new church, 
when he died on the very eve of the day appointed for 
the ceremony, May 8, iog2. 2 

His successor, Robert Bloet, a former chaplain of 
William the Conqueror, had the consolation of opening 
the church to the piety of the faithful, and of dedicating 
it to our Lady. We may mention here, that during 
the lifetime of this same prelate, the Church of Saint 
Mary, or Our Lady of Lincoln, was one of the churches 
which contributed an eulogium, in Latin verse, to the 
mortuary-roll of St. Bruno, in which the virtues of the 
illustrious founder of the Carthusians are eloquently 
summed up and extolled. 3 

1 Monast. Anglic, Hi. 258. It may be added that Dorchester, situated 
as it is upon the Thames in the extreme S.W. corner of the great tract of 
country then included in the diocese, was obviously unfitted to be the site 
of the cathedral city. [ED.] 

* Giraldus Cambrensis, who wrote his Life, gives him the title of 
"Saint," and relates several miracles worked by his intercession. 

s These mortuary-rolls, the albums of the middle ages, were a con- 
spicuous feature of the religious life of the twelfth and subsequent centuries, 
and originated in the practice of the different monasteries banding them- 
selves together in a sort of association, to pray for the deceased members 
of each other's communities. From this resulted a custom of each religious 
house sending out from time to time a circular letter addressed to the 
others associated with it, and containing the names of the dead to be 
prayed for. When any person of special prominence died, it became 
usual, even among seculars, to draw up a memorial commemorative of 
his dignity or virtues, and, inscribing this at the head of a long roll of 


It was right and fitting, therefore, that in after years 
a son of St. Bruno, become Bishop of Lincoln, should 
lovingly set himself to the task of restoring the Cathedral 
Church which had thus deserved well of his Order. 
However, before St. Hugh's time, important repairs 
had already been executed in the original building by 
Bishop Alexander, after a fire which took place in ii2^.. 1 
Some authors also attribute to him the erection of the 
stone vaulting of the nave. In any case, he left his 
successors, Robert of Chesney and Walter of Coutances, 
little to do ; but in the very year when this last Bishop 
was translated to the archbishopric of Rouen, that is 
to say, in 1185, an earthquake took place which com- 
pletely destroyed the roof and left wide fissures in the 
side walls. 

It was in this ruinous state that St. Hugh found the 

blank parchment, to entrust the document to a messenger who travelled 
from one monastery to another, soliciting the prayers of the inmates for 
the deceased. At each halting-place the community affixed to the blank 
portion of the roll their " title," i.e., the name of the monastery, with the 
addition of some little formula promising prayers. As time went on, these 
"titles" were often augmented with a few words of sympathy for the 
bereaved community to which the deceased had belonged, and as a further 
development a copy of verses was in some cases composed and written 
upon the roll, as people now write verses in a lady's album, generally 
eulogizing the deceased at considerable length. A copy of the mortuary-roll 
sent out by the companions of St. Bruno after his death is still preserved to 
us, and abounds in verse tributes of this kind. From the entries on the roll 
we discover that the messenger who carried it, starting from Calabria, 
where St. Bruno died, travelled the whole length of Italy, passed backwards 
and forwards through France, crossed the Channel into England, when he 
visited Lincoln amongst other places, and brought away the copy of verses 
referred to in the text, and finally returned to France again. We learn 
from dates inscribed on the roll that he must have taken more than a year 
over his journey. The reader may be referred to an article on this subject, 
entitled "A Medieeval Mortuary-Card," in The Month for December, 
1896. -[ED.] 

1 There is much obscurity as to the date and the amount of damage 
done by this fire. Henry of Huntingdon, our best authority, assigns the 
fire to about 1145, and he says nothing of the church being vaulted by 
Alexander. (See Dimock, Preface to Giraldus Cambrensis, Of era, vol. vii, 
p. xxx.) [ED.] 



Cathedral when he took possession of his diocese. He 
immediately set to work to rebuild it on a new plan. 
While preserving the beautiful remains of the former 
edifice, he adopted the new style which was then 
coming into favour and had already been employed at 
Angers, at Poitiers, and at Tours. 1 In this way he 
became the second founder of the great Cathedral, and 
must be counted among the Bishops who took the lead 
in that wonderful movement of the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries to which we owe the masterpieces of archi- 
tectural skill which are the marvel of all time. 

After the heroic enthusiasm which gave birth to the 
Crusades, nothing in the middle ages is more wonderful 
than the creation of these Cathedrals. The vivid faith 
of that epoch seems, as it were, to have taken flesh in 
these superb erections, with their lofty vaulting, their 
slender columns, their colossal towers, their magnificent 
stained glass, and their innumerable ornaments of stone, 
of all which the pointed arch is the distinguishing 
characteristic. Whatever may be the opinion of 
archaeologists as to the origin of the pointed arch 
itself, it is certain that Gothic architecture came into 
being in the twelfth century, and was the offspring of 
a piety which struggled to find some new and unheard- 
of expression for its spiritual aspirations, for its trium- 
phant sense of the spread of Catholicism. In words 
that are well known, but which it is always delightful 
to read again, M. de Montalembert has given eloquent 
expression to the true secret of Gothic architecture. 
Although he is speaking especially of the thirteenth 
century, his remarks may well be applied to the end 
of the twelfth, which was to the century that followed 
it, as the dawn to the perfect day. 

" It seems," he says, " as if that stirring and upheaval 

1 In reference to this statement see the note at the end of the chapter. 



of the spiritual world brought home to us in the lives of 
St. Dominic, St. Francis, and St. Louis, could find no 
other outward expression than in these gigantic Cathe- 
drals, soaring heavenwards with their towers and spires, 
as though they would carry with them to the throne of 
God an universal homage of love and victorious faith 
from all Christian hearts. The vast basilicas of the 
ages that had gone before seemed too bare, too heavy, 
too empty for the emotions of the present hour, for the 
swift upward flight of a faith which had renewed its 
youth like the eagle. This living flame of faith needed 
to transform itself into stone and leave its monument 
behind it. Pontiffs and architects sought after some 
new combination which might embody the wealth of 
spiritual aspirations of which Christianity became 
suddenly conscious. They found it in the outline of 
those slender pillars which in a Christian Church stand 
fronting each other, until, mounting higher and higher, 
like prayers ascending to Heaven, they bend before the 
face of God, and meet one another in a sisterly embrace: 
it is that bending and embracing which has given us 
the pointed arch. From the thirteenth century onwards, 
when this architectural feature first came to prevail 
universally, a change has swept over the spirit of 
Christian art, not indeed in the interior and mystical 
significance of our religious buildings, but in their 
external form. Instead of those roofs brooding over 
the earth, spreading far and wide to afford shelter to 
the faithful, everything in the new architecture soars 
heavenwards, and leads the soul up to God. . . . Innu- 
merable beauties of structure and form came into being 
in this new blossoming of the earth made fruitful by 
the faith of Christ, and in every church we see in the 
marvellous elaboration of capitals, steeples, and window- 
tracery, the same fecundity in some measure renewed." 1 

1 Life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Montalembert. (Introduction). 


To undertake and carry on the construction of these 
Cathedrals, it was needful to combine the efforts of every 
kind of talent and resource. Every one who could help 
had to be pressed into the service. Rich and poor, 
priests and monks, workmen and artists, confraternities 
and other associations, united their forces. The building 
of a great church called out an army who marched to 
their work as the Crusaders marched to battle. 

In the middle of the twelfth century, for instance, 
the spectacle might have been seen of whole bands of 
voluntary workers harnessing themselves to the carts 
which were to draw the necessary materials for building 
the Church of Our Lady of Chartres. Their example 
was followed in Normandy by men of all classes of the 
people, as Hugh of Amiens, Archbishop of Rouen, 
relates in a letter dated 1145. He says : 

" These voluntary labourers admit no one to share 
their toil, unless he has first confessed his sins and 
done penance for them, unless he has renounced all 
animosity and desire of vengeance, and is in perfect 
charity with all his enemies. When all this is satis- 
factorily arranged, the band elect a chief from among 
themselves, under whose guidance they drag along the 
carts in silence and humility, and present their offerings 
with tears of contrition, taking the discipline the while. 
. . . Often their faith is rewarded by miracles which 
God works upon the sick persons who accompany them, 
and these have the joy of returning home perfectly 
cured." 1 

About the same time, Aimon, Abbot of Saint-Pierre- 
sur-Dive, in the diocese of Seez, wrote a similar account 
to the monks of Tutbury, in England. His church 
owed its completion to one of these remarkable associa- 
tions of voluntary workers which were then common 

1 Migne, P.L., vol. cxcii. p. 1127. 


throughout Normandy. The writer speaks in the 
highest terms of the faith and the piety displayed in 
these gatherings, which were specially conspicuous for 
their devotion to our Blessed Lady. 

" When the labourers arrived at the place where 
the church was to be built," he says, " they made a 
circle with the carts they had dragged there, so as to 
form a kind of spiritual camp, in which during the 
whole of the night following the army mounted guard 
in relays, singing hymns and canticles. The sick and 
infirm were laid in the carts, and lamps and candles 
were lighted, while relics of the Saints were placed 
beside each in hope that the sufferers might obtain 
some relief. Prayers were offered for them, and pro- 
cessions formed under the direction of the clergy, to 
obtain their cure from our Lord and His Blessed 
Mother." 1 

At the end of his account, Aimon asserts that these 
things were to be witnessed more especially during the 
building of churches in honour of the Blessed Virgin. 

Such examples could not fail to attract a good deal 
of attention in England, and we may well believe that 
St. Hugh must have quoted them as a model to his 
own people. However that may be, the radiant vision 
of Mary smiled upon the work with the sweetest and 
most powerful encouragement. Under the spell of that 
beloved name, there was no difficulty in bringing 
together men of good-will, and making them under- 
stand that nothing could be too beautiful to give expres- 
sion to the immaculate loveliness of the Mother of God, 
and so, to honour the Infinite Beauty of which she is 
the reflection. Hugh had nothing to do but to confirm 
the dedication already chosen for his Cathedral, but 

1 Mabillon, Annales Benedictini, bk. 78, n. 67 ; Migne, P.L., vol. 
clxxxi. p. 1707. 


m vt-r before had the name of Our Lady of Lincoln 
I pronounced with such filial tenderness, never 
before had it called forth such a manifestation of 

To raise a monument worthy of her whom he loved 
to style his Lady and his Queen, Hugh was ready to 
bestow, not only his revenues, but his own personal 
service. He himself worked as a labourer, like a 
general who does the duty of a common soldier in order 
to encourage his troops. With some such object as 
this, the Bishop of Lincoln was to be seen hewing 
stones and carrying bricks and mortar, in the midst 
of a crowd of workmen. The fact might have been 
forgotten, but for a miracle which took place and has 
perpetuated the memory of it. One Good Friday, a 
poor lame man, leaning on two crutches, was so struck 
by the sight of the Bishop's humility, that he asked as 
a favour to be allowed to use the rough hod which the 
Saint had just been carrying over his shoulder. The 
cripple did this in the spirit of faith, receiving the tool 
as a pledge of his cure. His confidence was not 
deceived, for in a very short time after the hod was 
laid upon his shoulder, he drew himself up, completely 
cured, threw away his crutches, and walked without 
difficulty. 1 

While vigorously pushing on the execution of his 
great work, St. Hugh did not neglect to stamp it with 
the impress of his own conceptions. He had already 
chosen an architect worthy of such an undertaking, to 
whom he imparted his ideas. And when the Bishop 
was on his death-bed, we shall see this same artist, 

1 Vita. Metrica, v. 836 846. Annul. Ord. Carthus. vol. iii. p. 79, 
which quotes: Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. 15, though in Mr. Dimock's 
edition, bk. iii. has but 14 chapters and the story is omitted altogether. 
We should perhaps be justified in reconstructing from tins incident some 
such scene of organized but voluntary labour of the populace, as those 
we have just been reading of in the building of the churches of Normandy 


whose name was Geoffrey de Noiers, summoned to 
receive his last instructions. 1 

The rebuilding of the Cathedral went on steadily, 
one part being finished before another part was begun, 
so that the Offices of the Church could be performed 
without waiting for its final completion. And, in fact, 
this did not take place until after the death of St. Hugh. 
We may add that one special care of the holy Bishop 
was to provide amply for the lighting of the Cathedral. 
He pressed this so far that at night the brilliancy of 
the thousands of wax-candles vied, it is said, with the 
light of day. 2 

According to an English account, printed at Lincoln, 3 
the actual Cathedral owes to St. Hugh the east tran- 
sept, the whole of the choir, the chapter-house, the east 
side of the west transept, and a part of the additions 
made to the west front, the great arches of which 
belong to the Byzantine style of the Norman school, 
and date from the first construction of the edifice. If 
St. Hugh did not live long enough to finish his work, 
at least it owed its principal developments to his 
initiative. The Bishop second in succession from him, 
Hugh of Wells, a prelate of great merit, was parti- 
cularly careful to carry out the designs of his prede- 
cessor and namesake. And it is believed that this 
second Hugh finished the nave, in accordance with the 
plans of his namesake, and so completed that part of 
the Cathedral which is known to Lincoln antiquaries 
as ''the Church of St. Hugh;" that is to say, three 
quarters of the actual building. The pointed style, 
with lancet windows, characterizes the completed work 
of the Saint, and distinguishes it, both from the earlier 

1 Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 16. 2 Magnet Vita, bk. v. ch. 19. 

3 An Historical Account of Lincoln Cathedral. Lincoln : W. and 
B. Brooke. It seems certain, however, that the chapter-house is not 
St. Hugh's work. Cf. e.g. the excellent account of Lincoln in King's 
Handbook to the Cathedrals of England, published by Murray. [ED.] 


survivals of the Norman period, and from the later 
Gothic work in the decorated style. 

Taken as a whole, the Cathedral of Lincoln is really 
the achievement of the man who began it, and com- 
pleted the most essential portion of the fabric. 1 At the 
south angle of the magnificent west front, is still to be 
seen a statue, which tradition declares to be that of 
St. Hugh. However much, therefore, the Reformation 
may have turned aside the hearts of the people from the 
faith which he professed, his memory has not been wholly 
eradicated in the city which was the scene of his labours. 

The traveller, as he approaches Lincoln, is struck 
with admiration long before he reaches it, at the sight 
of the old Cathedral with its three grand towers, 
which from the hill-top overshadows the town and 
the whole surrounding country. Even if he is familiar 
with the finest religious monuments of France and 
England, he cannot fail to be impressed by this edifice, 
which can bear comparison with the Cathedrals of 
Chartres, of Amiens, of Bourges, or those of Canterbury, 
York, and Salisbury, or indeed with any other master- 
piece of the middle ages. Built in the form of an archi- 
episcopal cross, that is to say, with a double transept, 
the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lincoln is composed 
longitudinally of eighteen large bays, and is supported 
by a multitude of pillars and smaller columns, a very 
forest of marble and stone, forming a vista of marvellous 
richness. 2 

1 It may be remarked that the exquisitely beautiful "angel choir," 
which has replaced the apse in which the church terminated according to 
the original plan, also owes its origin to St. Hugh, in this sense that it was 
built to do honour to the shrine of the holy Bishop, when, in consequence 
of the miracles wrought at his tomb, Lincoln, in the latter part of the 
thirteenth century, became a great place of pilgrimage. [Eo.] 

1 The author of the Vita Metrica, when describing the Cathedral of 
Lincoln, poetically and symbolically, speaks of these columns thus : 
Inde columnelhe, quae sic cinxere columnas, 
Ut videantur ibi quamdam celebrare choream. 
{Vita Metrica, vv. 882, 883.) 


" Nothing in the churches of Great Britain," says 
a competent author of our own days, " can surpass the 
boldness and elegance of the central tower. The 
designer's craft has brought into play all the resources 
of ingenuity and art. The tower is square, having the 
angles supported and at the same time decorated by 
buttresses, surmounted with small steeples ; each face 
is pierced with pointed windows, upon which has been 
lavished the most delicate tracery. Finally the battle- 
ments, which surmount the whole, are worked out in a 
marvellous combination of rich mouldings and floriated 
ornaments. The height of the whole is about 240 feet. 
The central tower of St. Ouen, at Rouen, is the only 
one we know which can compare advantageously with 
that of Lincoln Cathedral. The two towers of the west 
front are hardly less imposing." l 

At some little distance are still to be seen the ruins 
of the ancient episcopal palace, which was begun by 
Bishop Robert of Chesney, continued by St. Hugh, to 
whom is specially due the fine central hall, and finished 
by Hugh of Wells. And as he looks from these crumb- 
ling walls, covered with ivy, towards the towers of 
the Cathedral, and then out upon the town and its 
suburbs beneath, the Catholic visitor cannot help being 
deeply moved at the thought of all the desolation, the 
ruins heaped upon ruins, which have accumulated in 
the Church of England since the religious convulsion of 
the sixteenth century. When will the hour come for 
that great restoration, which is so ardently longed for 
by all who have at heart the true progress of the 
Kingdom of God ? When will Our Lady of Lincoln be 
once more the object of a loving and filial homage in 
that church erected in her honour, and overflowing in 
days gone by with the rich offerings there laid at her 
feet ? When will the doors of the Cathedral open 

1 L'Abb Bourass6, Les plus belles Eglises du monde, p. 353. 


again to welcome a Catholic Bishop, true heir of the 
faith and virtue of St. Hugh, and in communion with 
the successors of St. Peter, who first sent apostles to 
England ? When will the Roman Church again take 
possession of this monument, built by her faithful sons, 
and still bearing witness to the antiquity and immu- 
tability of the Faith that was once delivered to the 
saints ? When will a Pontifical High Mass, celebrated 
once again as in the twelfth century, gather the faithful 
together in this magnificent edifice, where every line 
converges towards the altar, and where every sumptuous 
detail invokes the presence of our Lord in the Blessed 
Eucharist ? We cannot pray too much or too earnestly 
for the dawn of that day of reparation and justice, 
which will ensure the salvation of so many souls, and 
fill with so true a joy the hearts of all faithful children 
of the Church. 


It is natural that the French author of the Life here 
translated should look upon architectural questions 
from the point of view common amongst his own 
countryman, or rather amongst a section of his own 
countrymen. In England, there is a very general 
disposition to regard the extraordinary architectural 
development which marked this period as of spontaneous 
and native growth, and the substantial agreement with 
our own native authorities of such an antiquary as 
M. Viollet le Due, 1 is a proof that this theory has not 
been taken up lightly, nor maintained merely in a 

1 In a letter printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for May, 1861, 
M. Viollet le Due says, amongst other things : ' ' After the most careful 
examination I could not rind in any part of the cathedral of Lincoln, 
neither in the general design, nor in any part of the system of architecture 
adopted, nor in any details of ornament any trace of the French school of 
the twelfth century (the lay school from 1170 to 1220), so plainly character- 
istic of the cathedrals of Paris, Noyon, Senlis, Chartres, Sens, and even 


spirit of national prejudice. On almost all hands it 
is admitted that to St. Hugh, the Burgundian Bishop 
of Lincoln, is due the credit of having led the way in 
this great movement. But while his enlightenment 
and energy gave the necessary stimulus to the erection 
of the beautiful Cathedral of his see upon lines with 
which neither England nor any part of Christendom 
were yet familiar, there is every reason to believe that 
both the architect, Geoffrey de Noiers, 1 and the work- 
men whom he employed were Englishmen, and that the 
distinctive beauties of the style which they inaugurated 
in this country were not copied by them from abroad. I 
may illustrate the view generally current in England 
upon this subject by a quotation from a recent work 
intended to be representative of the best modern 

" Our first purely national architecture," says Dr. 
Hughes, "known to us as ' the Early English style,' 
came into being in the reign of Richard I., and is the 
one good thing which accrued to England under that 
most execrable of all our monarchs. Its birth was 
presided over by Hugh of Dauphine, Bishop of Lincoln, 

Rouen. . . . The construction is English ; the profiles of the mouldings 
are English ; the ornaments are English." In the same volume of the 
Gentleman's Magazine will be found much information about the family 
of the architect De Noiers. 

1 Sir Gilbert Scott having, in the original draft of his Lectures on 
Medieval Architecture, protested with regard to St. Hugh's work at 
Lincoln : "If then a French architect was engaged here, he must not only 
have made over the details of his work wholly to Englishmen, but have 
studiously followed English forms in the general features ; " had occasion 
subsequently to add a footnote: "This notion has since been entirely 
disproved, and the architect proved to have been a member of an English 
family." Again, he states : "The general distribution of the parts seems 
to me English rather than French, and though the work displays some 
idiosyncrasies, I do not see in them anything to indicate a French origin, 
unless it be the capitals of the main pillars ; indeed, it is a work in which 
distinctively English characteristics appear in a somewhat advanced stage 
of development." (Vol. i. p. 196.) 


commonly called St. Hugh of Burgundy. He died in 
1200, and was buried behind the high altar in his un- 
finished church. His work is remarkable in two ways : 
first, because it is the first example of pure pointed 
Gothic (of Gothic, that is, without the least tincture of 
Romanesque) to be found in England, and not in 
England alone, but in all Europe ; and secondly, 
because though there is a youthful, we might say a 
girlish delicacy about it, it is neither tentative nor 
immature. All the true characteristics are present. 
We have the clustered shafts, the elegant crockets (con- 
ventional out-curled leaves), the pointed trefoil arch, 
the narrow lancet-shaped windows, the stalked foliage 
of the capitals. The history of the transition, of course, 
makes it certain that it was in fact a case of evolution, 
and not of sudden separate creation ; but the casual 
looker-on would certainly be justified in thinking that 
the Early English style, like Pallas from the head of 
Zeus, sprang full-grown and full-armed from the brain 
of the architects at Lincoln and Ely. This is true of 
St. Hugh's choir at Lincoln, built in the last ten years 
of the twelfth century, it is emphatically true of the 
galilee of Ely, built in the first fifteen years of the 
thirteenth century; than which no more perfect example 
is to be found in the world." l 

The antiquary, Mr. J. H. Parker, in a paper printed 
in Archaologia, vol. xliii., on "The English Origin of 
Gothic Architecture," relies mainly for his evidence 
upon the fabric of the choir of Lincoln Cathedral and 
its relation to the first building with which St. Hugh 
was connected, the still existing "Church of the Friary" 
of Witham. Again Professor Freeman declares : 
"Before the twelfth century had run its course, the 
fully developed pointed architecture had reached its 
perfection not at the hands of a Frenchman at St. 

1 Social England, vol. i. p. 327. Edited by II. D. Traill. 


Denis, but at the hands of the Saint whom imperial 
Burgundy gave to England. What Diocletian did at 
Spalato for the round arch, St. Hugh did at Lincoln 
for the pointed arch." 1 Similarly, Sir Gilbert Scott, 
in the Associated Architectural Societies Reports, vol. xii., 
describes St. Hugh as "one whom we properly asso- 
ciate with one of the most mighty onward steps ever 
taken in the architecture of our country," adding, that 
" St. Hugh's great work may be supposed to have been 
on the very crest of the wave of progress." 2 St. Hugh's 
chief title to fame rests, it is true, upon higher grounds 
than these, but it is well to point out that in his case, 
as in so many others, personal holiness was no obstacle 
to his becoming the benefactor of his country, and the 
friend of all true progress and enlightenment. 

It is worth while to point out that St. Hugh's con- 
temporaries were quite alive to the boldness and 
originality of the conceptions carried out in the building 
of Lincoln Cathedral. " He began," says Ralph de 
Coggeshall, " in honour of the Mother of God, a certain 
new style of church after a graceful design (novam 
quandam ecclesiam eleganti schemate), which seems to surpass 
all the other cathedrals of England in a certain elegance 
of its proportions (quadam structure elegantia), and this 
he prophesied would be brought to completion either 
in his lifetime or after his death." 3 The same well- 
informed chronicler lets us know that the conjecture 
hazarded above by the author of this Life as to the 
construction of the building, is fully justified. " He 
(St. Hugh) established some sort of gild in his bishopric 
from which as much as a thousand marks were con- 
tributed every year towards carrying on the work." 

1 Norman Conquest, vol. v. p. 641. Cf. Sharpe in Associated Archi- 
tectural Societies Reports, 1868. 

2 Pp. 187-193. 

3 Coggeshall (Rolls Series), p. ni. The chronicler was a contemporary. 


Whether this gild is identical with the great gild of 
St. Mary at Lincoln, the hall of which, though strangely 
known by the name of John of Gaunt's stables, is still 
standing, I am unable to state with certainty. This 
much is clear, that shortly after Hugh's death the con- 
tributions notably fell off, and that an effort was made 
to put new life into the gild we learn from an interesting 
document among the Patent Rolls, which King John 
addressed to the people of the diocese of Lincoln : l 

" The King to all in the Diocese of Lincoln greeting. 
We give you manifold thanks for all the good deeds and 
alms which you have contributed to the Church of 
Lincoln for the construction of the new work. How 
bountifully and how liberally you have given is shown 
by the noble structure of that building. But how incon- 
gruous it would be that such a noble work should be 
left unfinished. And inasmuch as it needs your help 
and aid, we beg of all of you, we admonish and exhort 
you in the Lord, that, desirous to finish that which you 
have well begun, ye would, under the Divine guidance, 
and for the honour of the glorious Virgin, patroness of 
the same church, and also for the love of us and at our 
request, allow an assessment to be made among your- 
selves of a contribution for the work of the said building, 
and would form a society to last at least five years to 
further that purpose. So that on account of the contri- 
bution of aids and alms for building upon earth an 
abode for so excellent a patroness, which you have 
lovingly given, ye may be received by her Son our Lord 
into the everlasting abodes. 2 

1 Diocesan History of Lincoln. By Venables and Perry. Pp. 120, 121. 
* Rotuli Lit. Pal. p. 57. (12011216) Edit. Hardy. 



WHILE building his Cathedral, the Bishop of Lincoln 
did not forget the care of the spiritual edifice, of which 
the material fabric was but the type ; he knew how 
to apply to his people the words of St. Paul to the 
Ephesians: "You are no more strangers and foreigners; 
but you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and the 
domestics of God, built upon the foundation of the 
Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the 
chief corner-stone ; in whom all the building, being 
framed together, groweth up into an holy temple in 
the Lord. In whom you also are built together into 
an habitation of God in the Spirit." 1 

To the Bishop, who is the representative of Jesus 
Christ, and the successor of the Apostles, especially 
belongs the part of architect to this living Church, 
which is formed of the souls of those committed to his 
care. He himself must cement the various elements 
of which it is composed, by his labours and his prayers, 
and if necessary, by his blood. Hugh well understood 
this great truth, and not a day passed in which he did 
not labour diligently for the sanctification of some 
portion of his flock. 

The grand functions belonging to his office supplied 

the most frequent opportunity of benefiting the souls 

of others. These duties he discharged with such 

perfect dignity, such exactitude in every detail, such 

1 Ephes. ii. 19 22. 


fervour and piety, that his people were completely 
fascinated, and to watch him at one of these ceremonies 
had the same effect upon them as an eloquent sermon. 
It is always interesting to see a Bishop pontificating ; 
hut when the Bishop is a Saint as well, the pontifical 
ceremonies gain a new meaning, and are invested with 
a new grandeur; so that they bring a sort of sacramental 
grace to the souls of those who assist at them. The 
people who flocked together when St. Hugh officiated 
enjoyed this privilege. They observed with admiration 
that " neither the noise and restlessness of the crowd, 
nor his many cares and anxieties, nor the occurrence 
of any unforeseen accident, could ever deprive their 
Bishop of his recollection, or hinder him from carrying 
out exactly every detail of the ceremony." 1 

They were astonished also to see how wonderfully 
he supported the fatigue of the longest functions, such 
as the consecration of churches, ordinations, and con- 
firmations, although his constitution was delicate, and 
weakened by his man)' austerities. In spite of the 
violent internal pains, from which he often suffered, 
and which were mainly caused, his physicians said, 
by his frequent fasts on bread and water, he seemed 
stronger than those around him. While his assistants 
were frequently, not only tired, but utterly exhausted, 
and obliged to relieve each other in their attendance 
on the pontifical throne, the Bishop himself gave no 
sign of fatigue, and went through the longest and most 
trying ceremony without rest or relief. It often 
happened to him to get up before sunrise and to spend 
the whole day in these pontifical functions, not taking 
any meal until nightfall. 

One day he had been consecrating a church in very 
bad weather. Twilight was coming on, and he was 
just thinking of the rest and refreshment he so much 

1 Magna Vita, bk. i. ch. 2. 


needed, when he saw a band of children approaching 
to receive confirmation. Immediately, hunger and 
fatigue were forgotten, the expostulations of his attend- 
ants were silenced by a few gentle words, and he began 
this fresh labour as if he had not another care in the 
world. All the children were confirmed, although there 
were so many of them, that night had fallen before the 
ceremony was over. 1 

He was as compassionate and careful of the health 
of his clergy, as he was severe to himself, and often 
insisted on their taking a little bread and wine, before 
accompanying him to the consecration of a church, or 
any other long ceremony, especially during the heat of 
summer. Several ecclesiastics, after profiting by this 
kind thoughtfulness, were scrupulous about touching the 
chalice or the altar linen, during the offering of the 
Holy Sacrifice. Hugh blamed them for their lack of 
faith and common sense, and he complained that they 
neither knew how to be obedient to their Bishop, nor 
were capable of understanding why he was right in 
giving the order. 2 

1 Vita Metrica, 736 745. 

2 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. 13. In the Anglican Life of St. Hugh of 
Lincoln written by Canon G. G. Perry, the author is guilty of the absurdity 
of supposing that the Bishop gave a dispensation to his clergy to take their 
breakfasts before saying Mass. Father Bridgett, C.SS.R. , in an article 
published in the Dublin Review for April, 1880, to which reference has 
previously been made, has exposed this blunder along with many other 
misconceptions to be found in Canon Perry's book. The Magna Vita, to 
which Canon Perry appeals, speaks of St. Hugh's dispensation given to 
those qui ministrabant missarum solemnia celebranti, i.e., to the assistant 
priests, deacons and servers, who "ministered to the celebrant" during the 
long pontifical functions, and in fact one of the MSS. of the Magna 
Vita, as if to render ambiguity impossible, gives the reading submin- 
istrare. The only difficulty that can be felt about the passage would 
take the form of the question : " If only the assistants are meant, why was 
any dispensation necessary?" To this I answer that according to mediaeval 
ideas not only the celebrant, but all who participated in any solemn function 
or in the administration of a sacrament ought to be fasting out of reverence 
for the rite they were engaged in. With regard to confirmation, e.g., 


But it was especially on his journeys through his 
diocese, to adminster the Sacrament of Confirmation, 
that his inexhaustible goodness and patience were 

According to the custom of those days, it often 
happened that he was stopped on the road by a crowd 
of country people, who had come to ask him to confer 
the Sacrament of Confirmation on themselves or on 
their children. He would then immediately dismount 
from his horse, and perform all the appointed cere- 
monies with the greatest care and recollection, as if 
he had been in the sanctuary of his Cathedral. Even 
if he were ill, or fatigued, if the road was bad, the 
weather inclement, and the hour late, he never hesitated 
to get down from his horse and to observe with all due 
reverence the form prescribed in his Pontifical. 1 Then 
he would give his blessing to all around him, and after 
offering up a special prayer for the sick who had been 
brought there, filling their souls with joy and hope, 
he would resume his journey amid the blessings of 
all, to be stopped again ere long by just such another 

the Council of Rouen (A.D. 1072. Labbe, ix. p. 1-125) required that both 
administrant and recipient should be fasting. Indeed, it was the ordinary 
rule that all who assisted at the principal Mass on Sundays or week- 
days eat nothing beforehand. Any one who notes what has been said about 
the lateness of the hour at which St. Hugh himself took his meals, 
will see that he probably considered it necessary to defer his repast 
until all pontifical functions, notably the administration of the Sacrament 
of Confirmation, had been concluded. This was regarded as the 
ordinary and more reverent practice, and in his own case St. Hugh 
was strict in adhering to it. At the same time he knew that this was only 
a counsel and not a matter of obligation, and he made no scruple about 
insisting that others should treat themselves more leniently. The Saint 
was not surprised that his deacons were reluctant to touch the chalice or 
corporal when not fasting, but he rebuked them for their want of obedience 
and their failure to see that such a rule might be dispensed with where 
there was good and sufficient reason. [Eo.] 

1 His contemporaries particularly remark on this circumstance, because 
many other Bishops at that time were less considerate. (Magna Vita, 
bk. iii. ch. 13.) 


group of petitioners who had come on a similar errand. 
" A great number of cures," says his biographer, " were 
the fruit of the Bishop's prayers and blessing. This 
we have learned from eye-witnesses, whose veracity is 
beyond a doubt." 1 

One day, St. Hugh had just confirmed a number of 
people, and was hastening to another church, where a 
fresh throng of the faithful were awaiting him. An old 
peasant who, however, was not entirely helpless, called 
after him that he wished to be confirmed. The Bishop, 
seeing that the church was only a very short distance 
from where they were standing, told the old man to 
come to the church and be confirmed with the rest, not 
to keep the other candidates waiting. But the old man 
did not at all see the matter in this light. He replied that 
he would not and could not walk that short distance, 
and when the Saint demurred, he sat down upon the 
ground, lifted his arms and his eyes to Heaven, and 
dared to call upon God to witness the wrong which His 
Bishop was doing to his soul. St. Hugh was not 
offended at this rudeness, but thought only of the 
spiritual needs of the old man, who ought to have been 
confirmed long years before. He yielded to his persist- 
ence, stopped, turned back, and bestowed the favour so 
strangely asked. 2 

This little incident will serve to show how vexa- 
tiously the zeal of this good pastor was sometimes tried, 
and how much there was of merit in his efforts to 
evangelize his flock. In some parts of his diocese, he 
even found traces of idolatry among the ignorant 
country people. They worshipped the fountains in 
certain spots, 3 and indulged in other superstitious 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. 13. 

2 Vita Metrica, v. 746765 ; Girald, Vita S. Hugonis, i. ch. 3. 

3 Especially at Berkhampstead and Wy combe. (Magna Vita, bk. v. 
ch. 17.) 


practices. The holy Bishop made the most strenuous 
efforts to put an end to such deplorable customs, but 
it was long before he succeeded. We will give one 
episode out of many which occurred to the Saint, 
during this wearisome struggle. One day, as he was 
passing through a village, a peasant took up a little 
child in his arms, and ran after the Bishop. Thinking 
that it was the usual case of administering confirmation, 
St. Hugh stopped, dismounted, opened his box of holy 
oils, put on his stole, and waited. No : the child had 
been already confirmed ; but the father wished to have 
his baptismal name changed, because he thought, that 
if this were done, his son's destiny would also be 
changed. At this unmistakable piece of paganism the 
Bishop grew very indignant. " What is the name of 
your child ? " he said. " John," answered the father. 
"O gross folly!" exclaimed the holy man; "what 
more beautiful name could you wish for your son ? 
John, in Hebrew, signifies the Grace of God. What 
do you wish him to be called ? Fork, I suppose, or 
rake ? . . . You see what a dreadful state of mind your 
request has thrown me into. I shall not let it pass 
without giving you cause to remember it." And a 
severe penance imposed upon the superstitious father 
was the outcome of this episcopal admonition. 1 

This severity could not be attributed to a want of 
sympathy with the common people ; for Hugh was 
never weary of showing his love and consideration for 
them. He sent messengers to seek out the poor, in 
order that he might be able to relieve their wants. He 
regularly distributed among them a third of his revenues ; 
not to speak of numberless gifts out of the ordinary 
course and secret alms that were never heard of. In 
his relations with the tenants of the Cathedral lands, 

1 Vita Metrica, v. 765 793. 


he showed himself full of generosity, fearlessly renounc- 
ing certain unjust dues which he found in existence, 
and which weighed too heavily on his subjects. 

A labourer on one of his estates had just died, and 
according to custom, his principal chattel, in this case 
an ox, became the property of the lord of the manor. 
But the poor widow trusted to the goodness of her 
Bishop : she came to him, weeping, and begged him 
to allow her to keep the animal, which was of the 
utmost importance to her to enable her to gain a liveli- 
hood for herself and her children. Hugh instantly 
granted her request, without thinking of the precedent 
he was establishing. His bailiff, who happened to be 
riding beside him, said to his master : " My lord, if 
you thus renounce all your rights, you will ruin yourself, 
and you will no longer be able to retain your land." 
Thereupon, the Bishop got down from his horse, and 
taking up a handful of earth, said to his companion, 
" Here, you see, is plenty of land ; I can keep all this, and 
yet leave the poor widow her ox. What is the use of 
possessing so much of earth, and losing Heaven ? If 
we rigorously exact the payment of the unjust debts 
owing to us, we run the risk of ourselves becoming 
bankrupts to God. Death has taken from this poor 
widow her chief support, but he has not left her quite 
without resources. Shall I be more cruel than death ? 
No ! I will not take away what death has spared her." 
The poor widow was overcome with gratitude for this 
kindness, which was that of a father rather than a feudal 
lord. 1 

On another occasion, a knight, by the simple fact 
of his death, had rendered his son liable for the payment 
of a certain Relief. The Bishop exempted him from 
the obligation, saying, " It was not just that the loss 
of a father should entail the loss of such a sum of 
i Vita Metrica, v. 793-813. 


money also one such trouble at a time was surely 
quite enough." 1 

Concessions like these were of more value even than 
alms in teaching the people of Lincoln to look upon the 
Bishop as their protector and friend. The truth of the 
old adage was confirmed : " It is good to live under the 

St. Hugh was a worthy representative of his Divine 
Master, who said: " I am the Good Shepherd; and I 
know Mine, and Mine know Me." As the years went 
on, the lapse of time did but increase the perfect con- 
fidence and sympathy which subsisted between the 
Bishop and his flock ; and as his influence grew greater, 
he made use of it only to distribute to all in larger 
measure the treasures of grace, which filled his holy 
soul. He never gave a thought to self, but poured out 
his energies without stint or stay, amply rewarded by 
the conversions which he effected and by the change 
which in due time crept over the face of his diocese. 

Vita Metrica, v. 814 822. 



THE tender' heart of St. Hugh was open to all, but 
there were some whom he loved with a special love, 
and these were little children, and poor lepers. The 
children represented to him his God in the manger at 
Bethlehem ; the lepers, his God on the Cross of Calvary. 
" The Guardian Angels of little children," a Bishop 
of our own days has written, "have this great privilege, 
that their external duties, instead of being a distraction 
from their one essential occupation of beholding the 
face of God, in some sense double the happiness they 
derive from the beatific vision ; for, while they contem- 
plate God Himself in the brightness of eternal light, 
they see His image reflected in the pure souls of the 
little ones committed to their care. The Angel Guardians 
of older persons, on the other hand, are, alas ! too often 
condemned to witness injustice, sin of every kind, 
corruption of mind and heart, perversion of the will, 
and manifold impurity in thought and action a sad 
spectacle for those blessed spirits, whose only consola- 
tion then is to turn their eyes to the immaculate 
splendour of eternal beauty. But the Angels of little 
children, wherever their gaze is directed, are confronted 
by the same presence of the Eternal Father in all 
alike. In our Lord's words, * their Angels always see 
the face of My Father who is in Heaven.' " l 

1 St. Matt, xviii. 10. Works of Cardinal Pie, vol. i. p. 516. 


As he was the guardian angel of all the souls in his 
diocese, St. Hugh took a special delight in watching 
over the souls of the little ones, dear to God beyond 
the rest. The little children, in their baptismal inno- 
cence, with their engaging candour, and their sweet, 
pure looks, consoled him for the inevitable miseries 
which he had every day to come in contact with, and to 
cure. His intercourse with them, instead of being a 
distraction from the holy contemplation which was to 
him a foretaste of the Beatific Vision, refreshed his 
mind and heart, and helped him to raise* his thoughts 
towards those invisible heights which he never willingly 
lost sight of. 

One of his greatest pleasures was to confirm little 
children. He would never allow his attendants to treat 
them roughly, and those who paid no attention to his 
wishes in this matter were severely reprimanded. 1 
Whenever he met any of these little ones, he felt irre- 
sistibly drawn to speak to them ; he loved to take them 
in his arms, and had a most charming knack of winning 
a smile and some half-formed words from the baby-lips 
which had scarcely learned to speak. He traced the 
sign of the Cross upon their foreheads, he prayed God 
to bestow on them all good gifts, and sent them lovingly 
away with his blessing. 

The little children were not slow in responding to 
the advances of their saintly friend. They felt at home 
with him at once, and loved to get him to play with 
them. Even children who were naturally shy and 
timid, and always fled from the presence of strangers, 
came readily to the Bishop, and would rather be with 
him than with their own parents. His chaplain was a 

1 St. Hugh was not content with mere rebuke. His chaplain tells us of 
his lay attendant-, presumably the younger ones, that if they ill-treated the 
children, the Bishop sometimes cuffed them soundly tcrribilitcr incrt- 
fando nvntiMHifuam etiam coUiphizandv sci'crius cocrccl>ut. [ 


witness of one of these charming scenes, and has 
described it for us. He says : " I once saw myself a 
little infant of six months old, whom the Bishop had 
just confirmed, 1 manifest such joy in his presence, that 
he might have been taken for another St. John the 
Baptist, leaping with gladness. He laughed with such 
real enjoyment and evident intention, that all were 
astonished to hear such sounds from the little mouth, 
which had hitherto only uttered the wailing cries of 
babyhood. He stretched out his little arms, as though 
he would fly away to Heaven altogether, and turned 
his head from side to side, as if his joy were too great 
for expression. The Saint's hands he clasped, and held 
tightly within his own, putting them to his lips, and 
unwilling to let them go. The Bishop charmed the 
child, and the child charmed the Bishop, to the great 
admiration of all present, who saw in both one and the 
other the realization of,the Gospel promise: 'Blessed 
are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.' 2 And, 
indeed, what else was it but God Himself that the 
innocent little one perceived in the person of His 
representative ? And what was it, in turn, which 
so powerfully attracted the Bishop to the child, 
if it were not the image of his God reflected in 
the mirror of its pure, untainted soul ? Those who 
witnessed this scene could never forget it, so 
much impressed were they with its quite unusual 
character. The Bishop presented fruits and dainties 3 

1 It was a common practice in the early Church, and in the middle 
ages, to administer Confirmation to infants and quite young children. The 
question was even debated whether it was lawful to give Holy Communion 
to any one who had not been confirmed. [Eo.] 

2 St. Matt. v. 8. 

3 If poma, the word used in the Magna Vita, means apples, it does not 
seem altogether surprising that an infant six months old should have felt 
no'particular attraction for this form of nourishment. It may be, however, 
that St. Hugh offered them merely as playthings, and not as delicacies. 
I ED.] 


to the child, who turned away his head, as if disgusted. 
It was the friend, and not the gifts, that he loved ; 
Hugh himself was quite sufficient for him. The nurse 
who carried him in her arms then tried to caress him, 
but he pushed her away, and fixed his eyes on the 
Bishop, drumming with his hands, and crowing with 
delight. They were obliged at last to carry the baby 
away, and so put an end to this ovation, which occurred 
at Newark Castle, a place then under the jurisdiction 
of the Bishops of Lincoln, although it really belonged 
to the diocese of York. The child was the son of quite 
poor people, residing in a neighbouring town on the 
other side of the River Trent." l 

St. Hugh was so charmed with this incident, that 
he turned to his attendants, and with characteristic 
simplicity, began to tell them of a similar experience of 
his on another occasion. " When I was Prior of 
Witham," he said, " I went to^the Grande Chartreuse, 
to be present at the General Chapter of the Order; 2 and 
as the castle of Avalon, which belonged to my brother 
William, was on my way, I stopped to pay him a visit. 
There my youngest nephew was brought down to see 
me quite a baby, who was not yet able to talk. The 
same thing happened then, as has happened just now. 
The nurse laid the infant down on my bed, and left me 
alone with him. Then the dear little creature seemed 
to beam all over and went into transports of delight, 
which you would have thought impossible in one so 
young." 3 

The Bishop of Lincoln was not satisfied with these 
passing interviews ; he chose several little children, 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. 14. 

a It seems probable that the Priors of Carthusian houses at a distance 
only attended the General Chapters in leap years. This would enable us 
to assign the incident recorded above either to 1180 or 1184, probably the 

* Magna _Vita, bk. iii. ch. 14. 


whom he brought up in his palace, and afterwards 
educated. He took care, however, not to treat them 
with so much familiarity, when they had attained the 
age of reason, and might have been spoilt by an exces- 
sive display of affection. Nearly all these privileged 
children embraced the ecclesiastical state, and were 
provided with benefices by their protector. Two of their 
number were especially remarkable for their precocious 
intelligence : one was a little Norman, born at Caen, 
and called Benedict ; the other was a French child, 
born at Noyon, who was christened Robert. 

Robert was about five or six years old, when he was 
met at Senlis by Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, of 
whom we shall have much to say later on. The Arch- 
bishop was delighted with the charming prattle of the 
bright little fellow, and thought it would give great 
pleasure to St. Hugh, if he sent him to join his other 
proteges. He obtained possession of the child for a 
very small sum, 1 and brought him home to Lambeth. 
The Bishop of Lincoln soon after arrived, to pay his 
respects to his Metropolitan, and as soon as the little boy 
saw him, he left the Archbishop, and ran joyfully into the 
arms of him whom he henceforward regarded as a father. 
St. Hugh, after keeping the child with him for some 
time, sent him to be educated at Elstow. 

As to the little Benedict, he had the happiness of 
being found, some time before Robert, at Caen, probably 
by St. Hugh himself, who kept him a long time in his 
palace, until he was old enough to begin his studies, and 
who afterwards provided for his maintenance. While 
he was quite young, he was riding on the same horse 
with Roger, Archdeacon of Leicester, and afterwards 
Dean of the Chapter at Lincoln. Suddenly, the child 
fell off the horse, into a deep and rapid river, which 

1 " (Puer) aere comparatus exiguo in Angliam cum ipso perlatus a Galiis 
est." (Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. 14.) 


carried him a great distance. Through the intercession 
of St. Hugh, he was taken out alive and unhurt, just as 
the little Placidus was saved in days of old by the 
prayers of St. Benedict. 1 

There were other miracles besides this, which bore 
witness to the Divine intervention in favour of the friend 
of little children. A native of Alconbury, near 
Huntingdon, was imprudent enough to leave a fragment 
of a broken knife blade in the hands of his little son. 
The child put it into his mouth, where it entered his 
throat, and remained there, so that no food could 
be swallowed, except in a liquid form. Half 
suffocated, and in great pain, the poor boy seemed to 
be at death's door, when the holy Bishop of Lincoln 
happened to pass through the place. The unhappy 
father, who blamed himself for all this anguish, came 
with his weeping wife, to seek advice from the man of 
God. For, according to the testimony of the mother, 
a prophetic dream had announced to the uncle of the 
child, that the poor little sufferer would be cured by the 
Saint. " The Lord has sent you here," she added, ** on 
purpose that you may restore life to our son, who is in 
a dying state." Touched by the faith and sorrow of 
these good people, Hugh blessed the throat of the child, 
touched it, and breathed upon it. In a few moments, 
the fragment of steel came away covered with blood, 
and the poor boy's life was saved. 2 

In the city of Lincoln, another mother obtained the 
cure of her two sons, by appealing to the Bishop. One 
of the children had a large tumour in the side, which 
threatened to be fatal. The man of God touched the 
wound, the tumour disappeared, and the child's health 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. 14. 

* Annul. Ord. Cartus. vol. iii. p. 80 ; Vita Metrica, v. 1064 1079. The 
same miracle is mentioned in the Report of the Papal commissioners for 
the canonization of St. Hiu;h. 


was perfectly restored. His brother being afterwards 
seized with a dangerous illness, the mother brought 
him, like the other, to get the Saint's blessing. 
Three days after, this child also was completely 
cured. 1 

After learning these facts, we are not astonished to 
hear of the general veneration shown to St. Hugh, even 
during his lifetime, as the special patron and protector 
of little children. 

But, we may ask, how could one who had so tender 
a love for innocent and beautiful childhood, give the 
first place in his heart to the very outcasts of humanity, 
the degraded and repulsive lepers ? On one side, the 
freshest and sweetest flowers that earth produces ; on 
the other, the most hideous of God's creatures, which 
society, in horror, has banished from its midst ! It is 
Christian charity alone which possesses the gift of 
reconciling these two extremes, and of seeing in each 
an image of the Divine Saviour, who was as lovely and 
attractive, as He hung upon His Cross of pain, as 
when in His infancy He lay cradled in His Mother's 

This was the secret of St. Hugh's love for the 
despised lepers. It was the thought of Him Who in 
His Passion became "as it were a leper, and as one 
struck by God and afflicted." The Saint's greatest 
happiness was to bring thirteen of these poor creatures 
into his own chamber, unknown to all his servants and 
attendants. Then he would wash and wipe their feet, 
kissing them with tender devotion. He set before them 
a generous repast, and dismissed them with abundant 
alms. There were several leper hospitals in his diocese ; 
and without taking into account the large revenues 
bestowed on these charitable institutions by his 
predecessors, St. Hugh supported them by every means 
1 Magna Vita, ubi supra; Annal. Cartus. loc. cit. 


in his power. 1 Often, accompanied by some of his 
devout clergy, he would visit these asylums of misery. 
Then, he would sit down in the midst of his dear lepers, 
cheer them by his kind words, console them with a 
gentleness that was almost maternal, and speak to those 
disinherited ones of this world, of the eternal reward 
which would recompense them for all their sufferings. 
To these consolations he added much good advice, and 
if necessary, reprimanded those who needed reproof. 

Before the exhortations which he addressed to all the 
lepers in common, the Bishop sent away the women for 
a few moments, and then embraced each poor man 
in turn, bowing to them first, and treating those most 
affectionately who were the most disfigured by the cruel 
disease. A little address full of delicate sympathy 
followed these marks ot affection. " I congratulate you," 
he would say to them. " You are the flowers of Paradise ; 
you are precious jewels in the crown of the King of 
Heaven. Have confidence ; wait in peace for your 
Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform 
this ' body of your ignominy,' and make it like His own 
glorious Body, while those who, refusing to take part in 
His humiliations, have despised you, and been proud of 
their beauty, will be severely judged." 

When the man of God again found himself alone 
with his intimate friends, he poured out his whole soul 
to them, and spoke as one on fire, of the infinite 
goodness of Jesus Christ, who, so many times in the 
Gospel, has declared how blessed is the state of poverty 
and suffering. He recalled to their remembrance how 

1 This tender solicitude for poor lepers seems to have been traditional 
in the Carthusian Order. To take but one instance, the leper-house of 
Entresaix, in Savoy, was founded by Guigo, Prior of the Grande Chartreuse, 
and it was tenderly loved by St. Anthelmus, General of the Carthusians, and 
afterwards Bishop of Belley, who, as he had learned from the example of 
Guigo, tended them with his own hands. (Cf. J. Le"tanche, Mtmotres de la 
Socittt Savoisiennc d'Histoire, vol. xxx. p. 152.) L^ D< ] 


poor Lazarus was carried by angels into Abraham's 
bosom, and how He, who was Himself the source of 
all health and beauty, became infirm and afflicted in 
order to heal our infirmities. l 

One day, his chancellor, William, wishing to try his 
humility, and also to furnish him with an opportunity of 
declaring with what ardent faith he served Jesus Christ 
Himself in the person of the lepers, said to him : " My 
Lord, when St. Martin kissed the lepers, he healed them 
by his touch." The Bishop replied immediately : 
" Yes ; the kisses of St. Martin healed the bodies of the 
lepers : but with me it is the other way, the kisses of the 
lepers heal my sick soul." Could any reply have been 
more touching in its simple humility? Could anything 
express more clearly his sense of the presence of his 
Divine Master in the suffering members of His mystical 
Body ? If the soul of St. Hugh had in reality no need of 
being cured by contact with the lepers, it was there 
that it gained new strength and beauty, and it discerned 
more clearly in these revolting specimens of humanity 
the heavenly loveliness of a crucified God. 


On the south side of Lincoln, just beyond the old 
Bargate, is a piece of ground long known as the 
Malandry Fields (from maladrerie, a leper-house). Upon 
this site formerly stood a hospital for lepers, dedicated 
to the Holy Innocents. From sundry entries amongst 
the Patent Rolls, it appears that it was considered to 
have been founded by former kings of England, though 
St. Remigius, the first Bishop of Lincoln, is alleged to 
have originated the work ; in any case at the end of 
the thirteenth century, the King kept the house under 
his own immediate control. Some early charters are 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iv. ch. 3. 


printed in Dtigdale, and we learn from them that 
Henry I. was a generous benefactor to this institution, 
and that Henry II. confirmed his grants and added to 
them a carucate of land in Norcote. When we 
remember St. Hugh's devotion to the poor lepers and 
his love of little children, it is impossible to doubt that 
this particular hospital of the Holy Innocents, 1 which 
was at no very great distance from the Cathedral, must 
have been especially dear to him. It is at least a 
curious coincidence that the author of the Magtia Vita, 
in turning to the subject of St. Hugh's care for the 
lepers, should introduce it without any apparent reason 
by a reference to the praise which God had accorded 
to him per ora innocentium, through the mouths of 
innocents. We may safely conclude that this was one 
of the " hospitals on certain of the Bishop's manors," 
of which his biographer speaks, and the revenues of 
which he supplemented from his own purse. This 
hospital of the Holy Innocents was endowed for the 
reception and maintenance of ten leprous brethren 
with a warden, and with two chaplains to say Mass 
for King Henry I. and his family. The lepers were to 
be ex ejectis' 2 of the city of Lincoln. Amongst the 

1 It was opposite to the Gilbertine Priory of St. Catherine's, mentioned 
above on p. 139, immediately outside the south gate of the city. The 
Bishop's palace, the great hall of which was begun by St. Hugh, was close 
to the Cathedral. After being allowed to fall into a ruinous state, in which it 
remained for two hundred years, a new building has recently been erected 
on the old site, and the present Bishop of Lincoln has taken up his abode 

2 Lepers in the middle ages were treated very much in the same fashion 
as lepers amongst the Jews under the Mosaic dispensation. They were 
thrust out from the society of their fellows, and in many parts of Europe 
a special ritual was provided, corresponding in its main features to the 
ritual for the burial of the dead, which was read over them in church when 
they had been pronounced to be infected by the terrible disease. Although 
leprosy was common enough in Western Europe before the crusades 
(Cf. G. Kurth, Lit I.epre en Occident <ir<int Us Croisades), there can be 
little doubt that this awful scourge was considerably increased and pro- 


Harleian charters in the British Museum, is one 
belonging to the time of St. Hugh and witnessed by 
William de Monte, his chancellor. It is an agreement 
between the hospital and the Prior and convent of 
Bulington, determining the payment of certain small 
sums. 1 To this is attached a very fair impression of 
the seal of the hospital, on which is depicted a leper 
holding out his right hand for alms, and apparently 
supported on crutches. Only a very few years later 
King John issued letters patent dated April 24th, 1205, 
taking the domum leprosorum at Lincoln under his special 
protection, and enjoining that " when the brethren or 
the clergy preached in their behalf and solicited the 
alms of the faithful for their needs, no one should 
harass, hinder, or molest such preachers." 2 In the 
next century the hospital of the Holy Innocents would 
seem to have fallen upon evil days, and its revenues, I 
fear, were misappropriated. In the end it was placed 
under the direction of the Knights Hospitallers of 
Bruton Lepers. 3 [ED.] 

pagated by intercourse with the East. Attention was directed to the 
spread of leprosy at the third Council of Lateran (1179) where one of the 
most prominent English representatives was Reginald of Bath, the same 
Bishop who brought St. Hugh to England, probably on his way back 
from the Council. The 2yd of the decrees (Mansi, Concilia, vol. xxii. 
p. 230), passed by the Fathers, requires that lepers are to have a church, 
cemetery, and chaplain of their own, while another document in the 
Appendix to the same, speaks of the general custom of separating those 
infected with leprosy from intercourse with their fellow-men and trans- 
porting them to solitary places. (Ibid. p. 394.) On the other hand the 
Christian charity of the middle ages seems to have responded nobly to 
the call made upon it. We know from the will of Louis VIII. in 1225, 
that there were at least two thousand leper hospitals in France, and in 
England there were five such houses in Norwich alone. At Lincoln we 
know of another Lazar House, called St. Leonard's, to the north-west of 
the city, and possibly of a third in the hospital dedicated to St. Giles. 

1 Cart. Harl. 44, A. 29. 

2 Rotuli Litlerar. Patent. Edit. Hardy (12011216), p. 54. 

3 Cf. an article on this subject in the Papers of tke Lincoln skire Tofo- 
grafhical Society, pp. 29 49. 


WHEN God commands us to respect the rights of our 
neighbour, He makes no distinction between the living 
and the dead ; He intends that we shall execute the 
last wishes of those whom we have lost, and say nothing 
against their reputation, exactly as if they were still 
living in the midst of us. The precept of fraternal 
charity extends, therefore, to the dead, and the Church 
most carefully expresses this in her Offices, and especially 
in those which have to do with the rites of Christian 
burial. It was in these ceremonies especially that the 
holy Bishop found the opportunity to show his charity 
towards the souls of the departed. He loved to 
expatiate upon the deep significance of the funeral rites 
appointed by the Church, and to defend his practice 
of always assisting at them whenever it was possible. 
On this subject he used to say : " Among the number- 
less proofs which God has given of His love for man, 
we ought specially to notice what He does for each one 
of us before our birth and after our death. Before a 
man comes into the world, God the Son has died for 
him, God the Father has freely surrendered His Son 
to death, and God the Holy Ghost has come down to 
fill him with manifold graces. There are sacraments 
already instituted for the purification, the strengthening, 
and the nourishment of his soul. There is the Church 
to guide and instruct him. Not one thing is wanting for 


his salvation and sanctification. When the hour of his 
death arrives, when his dearest friends fly from his 
remains, when his parents and his children hasten to 
bear him away from his former home, it is then that 
God in His fatherly tenderness comes to his relief and 
lavishes upon him marks of loving forethought. He 
sends His angels to receive the soul which is returning 
to its Creator ; and to His priests, His representatives 
on earth, He commits the care of the lifeless body, that 
it may receive Christian burial." 

The holy Bishop, if we may trust the author of the 
Magna Vita, used further to encourage his clergy in this 
matter, by bidding them imagine that Almighty God 
was exhorting them in some such words as these : 

" See, O My priests, you who stand in the sanctuary 
in My place to entertain My guests, see this creature 
who is the work of My hands. I have always loved 
him, for his sake I have not hesitated to sacrifice My 
only Son, who has made him partaker in His merits 
and in His death. And now this man has become as 
a grievous burthen to his friends and kinsfolk. They 
have cast him off and driven him from their midst. 
Come then, bestir yourselves to welcome the poor 
outcast who has no other refuge but with Me. Take 
with you to meet him the image of My Son, who was 
crucified to save him ; do not forget the candles and 
the sweet-scented incense ; have the church bells 
solemnly tolled, open wide the doors, conduct him 
with honour into the interior of My house : not far 
from the altar where lies enshrined the Body of My 
Son, 1 there place your dead brother's mortal remains ; 
in view of his triumph cover the bier on which he lies 

1 Nee longius ab ara Filii met corpus continente deponite. It is not 
quite clear whether the reference is to the Blessed Sacrament reserved 
above the altar, or to that which was sometimes buried in the altar in lieu 
of relics. [ED.] 


with a precious pall, surround him with lamps and 
torches, and let a numerous assembly throng around 
him. By the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the 
Eucharist, make ready a delicious banquet for the soul 
still panting after its conflict with the powers of evil, 
in order that the spirit may find rest and refreshment, 
and in order that the empty tenement of clay may go 
back amid benedictions to the bosom of its mother 
earth. So at the last day shall it be worthily mated 
again to the glorious spirit that gave it life, and be 
renewed with the spring-tide of eternal youth." 

From this exalted standpoint we can understand 
something of the attraction which the Bishop of Lincoln 
found in the funeral ceremonies, which are so often 
performed mechanically, and without devotion. He never 
declined the honour of officiating, or assisting at them ; 
on the contrary, he persistently sought out every oppor- 
tunity of attending a funeral service, often at the cost 
of his night's rest, and sometimes at the risk of failing 
in other duties of courtesy, which most people would 
have considered imperative. 

The priests of his diocese had received strict orders 
from him, never to inter any one, especially an adult 
person, without acquainting him of it, if he happened 
to be anywhere in the neighbourhood. He preferred 
to conduct the service himself, and never dispensed 
himself from this unless hindered by some grave 
impediment. He used to say, that if a person had led 
a good life, he deserved this mark of charity and 
respect ; and that if his life had not been good, he 
had all the more need of prayers. Therefore, he put 
himself at the disposition of all, and when the funeral 
was that of a very poor person, he instructed his 
almoner to furnish the lights, and to defray the other 
expenses of burial. When he was on a journey, if he 
met a funeral procession, he instantly dismounted, 


knelt down beside the coffin, and began to pray. If 
he had not a book written in large characters, such as 
his defective sight required towards the end of his life, 
he would stand beside the priest, reciting the Psalms 
with him, and making the responses like a simple clerk. 
If he had a suitable book at hand, he took upon 
himself the duties of celebrant, entoned the prayers, 
sprinkled holy water, incensed the coffin, cast earth 
upon it, and in fact performed every detail of the rite 
then in use with the greatest attention. It was only 
when the whole service was concluded that he gave his 
blessing to the bystanders, and proceeded on his journey. 

When he was making his visitation in any of the 
larger towns, it often happened at the conclusion of 
one funeral that messengers came to inform him of 
several others which were to take place the same day. 
He was rarely satisfied unless he went to the different 
churches mentioned, and rendered to each dead person 
the same charitable office. He passed in fact from 
one to the other until he had exhausted the list of 
these solemn invitations, cheerfully neglecting invitations 
of another kind. In vain did the noble lords and 
gentlemen who had asked him to their table, or whom 
he had invited as his own guests, in vain did they 
complain of the Bishop's endless delay. Nothing could 
equal the importance of this sacred duty in his eyes, 
and no one ever took more to heart that maxim of 
Holy Scripture : " It is better to go to the house of 
mourning, than to the house of feasting." x 

One day, Henry II. was expecting him to dinner. 
But before presenting himself at the Palace, Hugh had 
a mind to officiate at all the funerals which were going 
on, not considering that the King was hungry, and was 
being kept waiting with all his Court. Some of the 
royal servants came to remind the Bishop that the 

1 Eccles. vii. 3. 


King was getting impatient, and that it was long past 
the dinner-hour. Without showing the least concern, 
St. Hugh quietly went on with the service, merely 
replying: " It is not necessary for the King to wait for 
me ; for heaven's sake, let him sit down at once and 
take his dinner in the name of the Lord." And he 
afterwards explained his conduct to his clergy and 
attendants by saying : " It is better to let an earthly 
king dine without us, than to pay no heed to the 
invitation of the King of kings." 

Some years afterwards, he behaved in exactly the 
same way to Richard Cceur-de-Lion, in the city of 
Rouen. 1 And here we may take the liberty of antici- 
pating a little the chronological order of events, in order 
to group together several incidents which have to do 
with the subject now under discussion. 

During one of his last journeys to Normandy, the 
Saint was walking in the vicinity of the town of 
Argentau, when he observed, near the wayside, that 
the soil had been disturbed, so that it had the appear- 
ance of a newly-made grave. Surprised and distressed, 
he sought information from some labourers who were 
at work near the place. They told him that it was 
indeed the grave of a poor beggar, who had died in a 
neighbouring cabin, and who had been so utterly 
destitute, that he had been put into the ground just 
where he lay, instead of being taken to the churchyard. 
St. Hugh, deeply concerned, drew a long sigh ; then, 
taking out his book, he began to recite the burial 
service for this poor man, with intense devotion. 
Thus did he endeavour to repair the culpable negli 
gence of the priest of the parish, not forgetting after- 
wards to denounce the careless pastor to his own 
Bishop, and demand his punishment. 

1 From the account of Giraldus Cambrensis (i. ch. 6), it would appear 
that the former episode took place at Le 


The city of Lincoln was of course the privileged 
theatre of many of these acts of charity towards the 
dead. One evening in Lent, Hugh arrived at his 
palace after the hour of None. It was time to break 
his fast, and his dinner was waiting for him, when 
some one came with the news that two funerals were 
about to take place. Without a moment's hesitation, 
the Bishop went off to officiate at both in succession, 
taking no refreshment for his body, until he had thus 
satisfied the hunger of his soul. Another time, in the 
same city, on the morning after Christmas day, St. Hugh 
had just finished celebrating Mass in honour of St. 
Stephen, when he saw coming towards him one of the 
workmen employed in building the Cathedral. With 
the confidence which the holy Bishop's kindness always 
inspired, the mason told him that his brother had died 
the night before, and begged for the dead man the 
" pontifical absolution," and some special prayers. 
This request was immediately granted, and then the 
Bishop asked if the funeral had already taken place. 
The mason replied that the body was lying still 
unburied, in a church a long distance off. The Bishop 
ordered horses to be saddled immediately, and set out 
with his chaplain and two servants. Arriving at the 
place indicated, he performed all the ceremonies with 
his usual devotion. But his task was not over ; he 
received notice of several other funerals, no less than 
five, according to the account of his biographer, and 
he was determined to be present at all of them. He 
had, nevertheless, been invited to dine on that day with 
the archdeacon of Bedford, to meet a large number 
of clergy. The hour of dinner was already past. 
Some one ventured to suggest to him that he ought 
not to keep the guests waiting any longer. The 
relatives themselves of the dead man, who was still 
to be buried, joined their entreaties to those of his 


servants ; they begged him to be contented with giving 
the pontifical absolution, and commending the soul of 
their dear one to God in his prayers. But St. Hugh 
imposed silence on all, by saying: "Have you then 
forgotten the words of our Lord : My meat is to do 
the will of Him that sent Me?" 1 Without another 
word, he imitated once more the admirable Tobias, 
and left his meal in order to care for the dead, to the 
great edification and consolation of the family whose 
grief he shared. 

On three separate occasions, this wonderful charity 
of St. Hugh received a visible reward from Heaven. 
Once, when he had come to London, to take part in a 
meeting of prelates and nobles, it happened that one 
of the Abbots who had been summoned thither died 
suddenly on the eve of the opening of the Conference. 2 
Hugh only knew this Abbot very slightly, but he was 
none the less moved by his sudden death, devoutly 
recommended his soul to God, and of course asked 
when and where the funeral was to take place. He 
learned that it was to be on the next day, at the Church 
of St. Saviour in Bermondsey, but that none of the 
prelates were expected to be present, not even those 
who were most intimate with the deceased. No one, 
in fact, wished or dared to be absent from the solemn 
opening of the assembly. " Now, God forbid ! " 
exclaimed our Saint, " that this Abbot should be thus 
abandoned by all the prelates assembled in this great 
city ! We will not treat one of our brothers in this 
way, for no one would wish to be thus tivuti-d himself." 
He therefore charged some of his people to make his 

1 St. John iv. 34. 

* Mr. Dimock is probably right in identifying this prelate with Simon, 
Abbot of Pershore, who died at Brrmomlsry on the latli of May, 1198. 
We have no record, however, ol any meeting of nobles and prelates at that 
date. [ED.] 


excuses to the assembly, and set off for Bermondsey. 
An unexpected incident rendered his devotion more 
memorable. On account of the extreme heat of the 
summer, and the nature of the malady of which the 
Abbot had died, the corpse was in such an advanced 
state of decomposition, as to be almost unendurable 
to those around the coffin. It was only by the use 
of perfumes and other expedients that they could bring 
themselves to remain in the vicinity. The holy Bishop 
alone, whose sense of smell, nevertheless, was excep- 
tionally acute, gave no sign of suffering any incon- 
venience. Without taking precautions of any sort, 
he came and went about the infected spot as the order 
of the ceremonies required, "just," says his biographer, 
" as a mother walks round and round the cradle of her 
sleeping child." When he returned home, some of his 
friends, fearing lest he might have taken some harm from 
the tainted atmosphere, asked him if he felt quite well. 
He was astonished at their questions ; he had observed 
nothing in the least disagreeable, and thought that 
they must have been mistaken. His soul had been 
so raised above earthly things, that all impressions 
of sense had been lost in those of devotion. 1 

Another extraordinary favour bore witness to his 
sanctity, on the occasion of the death of his almoner, 
who belonged to the Order of the Knights Templars, 
and was called Brother Morinus. He had been a 
worthy imitator of the virtues of his master, and was 
distinguished for his great charity and prudence in 
distributing the alms confided to him. Besides 
providing everything that was necessary for the 
interment of the poor, it was part of his duty to give 
the Bishop notice of any funerals which were about to 
take place. If he neglected to do so he had to do 
penance for his fault, by fasting on bread and water. 

1 Mana Vita t bk. v. ch. 2. 


This Brother Morinus had fallen ill when the Bishop 
was at his manor of Stowe. Hugh administered the 
last sacraments to him with his own hands, and then 
was obliged to take his departure for Sleaford, a place 
about twenty miles off. 

Some days afterwards, when still at Sleaford, the man 
of God had a dream, in which he seemed to be in the cell 
of his dying friend, and observed a white dove, which 
flew from one side to the other, seeking a place of 
egress. When he awoke, he immediately gave orders 
that horses should be prepared, to go and meet the 
coffin of Brother Morinus, which he knew would be 
taken from Stowe to Bruer, where there was a house of 
the Order of Knights Templars. Then he began, 
with his clergy, to recite the office of Prime, when 
suddenly a messenger arrived, with the news of the 
death of the almoner, which had occurred in the middle 
of the night. Hugh then related the vision, which had 
already made known to him what had occurred. The 
funeral took place that day in the place he had foreseen, 
and St. Hugh was in time to be present at it. l 

A third incident may be added to the two preceding. 
In the neighbourhood of Buckingham, a man who had 
recently died, began to appear in a terrible form, for 
several consecutive nights, first to his wife, then to his 
brothers, and afterwards to his friends and neighbours. 
Those whom he thus tormented, in their terror applied 
to one of the archdeacons of St. Hugh, named Stephen, 
who was then at Buckingham, and was the principal 
ecclesiastical official of the district. The archdeacon 
wrote at once to his Bishop, then in London, asking 
what was to be done. St. Hugh took advice, and was 
told by those whom he consulted, that this kind of 
apparition was not uncommon in England, and that the 
only way to put a stop to it, was to take up the body of 
1 Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 18 ; Vita Metrica, v. 900. 


the dead man and burn it. St. Hugh thought this 
proceeding very wrong, and contrary to the respect 
which ought always be shown to the mortal remains of 
a Christian. He gave other instructions to his arch- 
deacon, who, in accordance with his directions, had the 
grave opened, and finding that the body remained in 
the state in which it had been when buried, laid upon 
its breast a form of absolution which the man of God 
had written with his own hand. He then closed the 
tornb again, and from that hour, the apparitions ceased. 1 
A few lines written by the Bishop of Lincoln, had given 
rest to the troubled spirit, and peace to his family. 

All these facts are attested by contemporary wit- 
nesses ; and later on, we shall have to add others 
which shed glory on the funeral obsequies of the holy 
Bishop, and upon his tomb. After his death, even more 
than during his lifetime, it pleased God to reward by 
singular marks of favour the charity of His servant 
towards the faithful departed. 

1 This story, which is not found in the Magna Vita, is narrated by 
William of Newburgh (vol. ii. p. 425), in connection with a number of 
other portents which marked the year of calamity, 1196. The remedy of 
exhuming the body and burning it would seem to have been a superstition 
then widely prevalent in England, for in each of the three other similar 
ghost stories which he relates, the ghost is laid by reducing the body to 
, ashes. The point of the chronicler's telling us that the corpse was found 
in the same state as when committed to the earth, seems to be this : it was 
supposed that until the censures of the Church were removed, the body 
could not be reduced to dust, and until the corpse was resolved into its 
elements, the devil might enter into it and use it for his evil ends. It was 
to effect this resolution that fire was employed. The details of the story 
related above were communicated to William of Newburgh by Archdeacon 
Stephen himself. But see further the note at the end of the chapter. [Eo.] 



The form of this "absolution" will probably have 
been analogous to that which was written by Peter the 
Venerable, Abbot of Cluny, and suspended over the 
grave of the famous Abelard, at the request of Heloise, 
to whose care Abelard's remains had been committed. 
The document, which was duly sealed, ran in these 
terms: "Ego Petrus Cluniacensis qui Petrum Abailar- 
dum in monachum Cluniacensem suscepi, et corpus 
ejus furtim delatum, Heloisae abbatissae et monialibus 
Paraded concessi, auctoritate omnipotentis Dei et 
omnium sanctorum absolve eum pro officio ab omnibus 
peccatis suis." 1 In this case it is quite plain that there 
can have been no thought of supplying the place of 
sacramental absolution. Abelard had spent a long 
period in rigorous penance, he had received the Holy 
Viaticum and had died in the arms of his brethren. 
The absolution thus written and sealed was merely a 
sort of formal discharge from obligations or censures 
in foro externo, the removal of which might have its 
effect in remitting temporal punishment incurred during 
life, and so opening the way for the deceased to the 
enjoyment of the vision of God. As an illustration of this 
point of view, I may refer to a curious story related by 
the monastic chroniclers of the Welsh King, Rhys, who 
had laid violent hands upon one of St. Hugh's colleagues 
on the episcopal bench, Peter de Leia, Bishop of St. 
David's. Peter having providentially escaped from the 
clutches of his captor, summoned his clergy and solemnly 
excommunicated Rhys and the princes, his sons. 
Shortly afterwards, in 1197, the King died, and his 
sons, after a few days, determined to address themselves 
to the Bishop for absolution and reconciliation. Peter 

J Mart6ne, De Antiqms Ecclesicr Kitibus, vol. ii. p. 375. 


de Leia, with the assent and authority of the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, granted their petition, but only 
on this condition, that, like Henry II. at the tomb of 
St. Thomas and like the Grand Forester mentioned on 
a previous page, they should submit to a public flagel- 
lation. The corpse of the dead King, jam foetidwn, says 
the chronicler, likewise received a scourging, presu- 
mably a mere formal one, and then absolution was 
pronounced over living and dead together. 1 

The same belief in the power of the Church's 
censures to reach even beyond the tomb is manifested 
in a still more curious story told of St. Augustine, the 
Apostle of England, in the chronicle which goes by the 
name of John Brompton. At Compton, in Oxfordshire, 
he is said, while celebrating Mass, to have bidden all 
excommunicated persons leave the church, whereupon 
there rose from the floor the corpse of a man that was 
buried there, which went forth and waited outside the 
porch till the Mass was over. St. Augustine then came 
out, and asked the man who had excommunicated him. 
He replied that he had been excommunicated by a 
priest lying there in the churchyard. St. Augustine 
thereupon, after bidding him indicate the spot, disin- 
terred the bones of the priest, and raised him to life. 
Then, at the Saint's instance the priest, "taking a 
scourge into his hand," released the dead man from his 
excommunication. The corpse, thus absolved, went 
back to its tomb within the church, and at once was 
reduced to dust. This is interesting, not of course as 
evidence of the practice of the days of St. Augustine, 
but as illustrating the popular beliefs of the age in 
which the legend grew up. There is, however, some- 
thing very much like a. post-mortem absolution in the Life 
of St. Gregory the Great. 2 

1 Annales de Winton, p. 66. 

2 Vita, by John the Deacon, bk. ii. n. 45, and Dialog, bk. iv. ch. 55. 


In the Greek Church, the efficacy of absolution after 
death was strongly insisted upon. Goar 1 was solemnly 
assured by many learned bishops and ecclesiastics of 
that communion, that the bodies of those who died 
under excommunication always swelled up, and would 
not fall into dust until the excommunication was 
removed. They even had a special name for such 
corpses. They called them rv/xTravtKa, swollen like drums. 
And here also it would seem that the devil was believed 
to wander abroad in these bodies until the curse 
was taken off them. The form for conferring such 
absolution is given by Goar, and the rubric declares 
that it should be written by the Bishop on paper (ypdtyfi 
ravra 6 dp^upeus eis ^aprtW), and that it should be read 
over the remains either by himself or some other priest 
whom he deputed. .1 may translate here the formula 
which he prints : 

" It has befallen our humility to launch an excom- 
munication against the most devout N., on account of a 
certain misdemeanour such as human nature, through 
diabolical instigation, is occasionally liable to. But since 
in some manner known to God, who knows all things 
before they come to pass, this person has paid the 
common debt of nature, while still involved in the 
tempest of our anathema, we by this present favour 
release him in the Holy Ghost from our former excom- 
munication, so that henceforth, being free, he may 
enjoy with all Christians the vision of the Lord, and 
may hear His blessed and glorious summons, along 
with the Blessed of His Father." 

The pronouncing of an absolution in for o externo after 
death is expressly provided for in the Corpus Juris 
Canonici, cap. A nobis. 2 There was also sometimes ques- 

1 Euchologium, p. 668. 

a Decretalia Gregor. IX. bk. v. tit. 39, cap. 28. This is a reply 
delivered by Innocent III., and dated 1199. 


tion of an Indulgence granted with the absolution. See, 
for instance, the post-mortem absolution and Indulgence 
petitioned for by Duchess Bona of Savoy, the widow of 
Galeazzo Sforza, as to the details of which the reader 
maybe referred to an article in the Month for June, 1895. l 
As is shown, however, by the case of Abelard first 
mentioned, the post-mortem absolutions were certainly 
not confined to those who died under the censures of the 
Church. It seems to have been a common custom in 
countries under Anglo-Norman rule during the eleventh 
and twelfth centuries, to place a formula of absolution 
upon the breast of the corpse. For this purpose a 
piece of thin sheet lead, cut into the shape of a cross, 
was sometimes used, and the form of absolution en- 
graved upon it with a style. A certain number of these 
" absolution crosses " have been found in modern times. 
One of the most famous is that of Bishop Godfrey of 
Chichester, who died in 1088, which I reproduce. 2 [ED.] 

Absolvimus te Gode- 
fride Episcope, vice 
Sci Petri principis 
Apostol., cui Dnus dedit 
ligandi ataque solvendi 
potestatem, ut quantum tua expetit 
excusatio et ad nos pertinet remissio, sit 
tibi Dnus Redemptor Omnipot. salus, omnium 
peccatorum tuorum pius indultor. Amen, 
vii Kl. octobris in festivitate S'ci 
Firmini Epci. et Mart. 

Obiit Gode- 
fridus Epis. 
sis ipso die. 
V lunae fuit. 

1 The documents are in Pasolini, Vita di Caterina Sforza, Appendix. 

2 See Archaologia, vol. xxiii. p. 419. For other absolution crosses, see 
Archceologia, vol. xxxv. p. 298 ; vol. xxxvi. p. 258 (with engraving) ; 
vol. xxxvii. p. 399 ; Norfolk Archaeology, vol. xi. (1892). 



THE great activity of St. Hugh in his diocese was no 
hindrance to his care for his own perfection. Torn 
against his will from the life of the cloister, he still 
tried to live as much like a monk as his episcopal 
duties would permit. As he had shown on the day he 
left Witham, with his bundle of sheep-skins in front 
of him, he determined to remain a Carthusian, even 
though he was forced to be a Bishop as well. 

With the exception of the robes of ceremony which 
he wore in public as a sign of his dignity, he retained 
the white habit of his Order, and never put off the 
Carthusian hair-shirt. His perpetual recollection alone 
would have marked him out as a son of solitude. The 
moment it ceased to be necessary for him to give his 
attention to external matters, he took refuge in that 
inner cell which he had built in the depths of his soul 
by prayer and meditation. On his journeys, especially, 
he kept such custody of the eyes that he saw nothing 
beyond the horse that carried him. Like St. Bernard, 
who rode for a whole day by the side of a lake, without 
perceiving it, our Saint never gave any satisfaction to 
his natural curiosity, and paid no heed to anything he 
met with on the way. If his attendants wanted him to 
notice anything, they had to draw his attention specially 
to it. It was even necessary for some one to ride in 
front of him, in order that the Bishop's horse might 


take the right road ; and if it had not- been for this 
precaution, he would constantly have lost his way. 
Sometimes another traveller happened to come between 
him and his leader, and then if his horse chose to 
follow the new-comer, the Bishop remained perfectly 
unconscious of the substitution, until his proper guide, 
who had perhaps been distracted for a few moments, 
perceived the misadventure, and galloped after his 
master, grumbling and exclaiming: "Mercy on me ! 
They have stolen my Bishop again ! " 1 And he would 
find the holy man deep in contemplation, knowing 
nothing of what had occurred, and as completely 
abstracted from earthly things, as if he had been 
wandering in the desert of the Grande Chartreuse or in 
the forests of Witham. It was the same when he was 
residing in the country, at one of his manor houses. 
He never took a walk from mere curiosity or for 
pleasure, not even under the pretext of looking round 
his estates, but he remained at home, reading, praying, 
or engaged in business. 

To this spirit of solitude, he added a great fidelity 
in carrying out all the pious practices of his Order. 
Thus, unless he was prevented, he regularly said a 
Votive Mass every Saturday, in honour of the Blessed 
Virgin; 2 always went to confession on that day, and 

1 Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 17. 

2 In the beginning of the Carthusian Order, it was not usual for all the 
priests amongst them to celebrate Mass daily, as we have already seen, 
p. 123, but furthermore, there were a certain number of days in the year 
when no Mass was offered at all, e.g., on the Saturday before the first 
Sunday in Lent and the Saturday before Palm Sunday. It is noteworthy 
that whereas in the Constitutions of Guigo, written before 1137, we are 
told with regard to the former day, Sabbatum sequens missa caret ; the 
Antiqua Statuta, drawn up in the next century, modify this by saying, 
Missa propria caret, et cantatur missa de B. Maria in conventu. That 
Mass was more frequently omitted on Saturdays seems perhaps to be due 
to the fact that this day was assigned as the confession day for the monks. 
(Statuta Guigoni$t cap. 7.) 


sometimes oftener. He had so distributed the Lessons of 
the Office and the reading at table, as to go completely 
through the Bible every year, with the exception of the 
four Gospels, which he caused to be read after Prime. 
He was careful, also, that during the recitation of the 
Divine Office, half the officiating clergy should stand, 
while the other half sat down to rest, and he himself 
always conformed to this practice, out of respect, as 
he said, "to the presence of God and the holy angels;" 1 
and all this with a regularity and gravity worthy of 
the most fervent Religious. Whenever the hour for the 
Divine Office arrived, he at once left off any occupation 
in which he was engaged, and hastened to sing the 
praises of God. He would not suffer any irreverence or 
negligence in the performance of this duty, and any 
of his priests who offended in this respect, received 
severe reprimands. Every day he read a portion of the 
Gospels a practice which he never omitted, even 
though it had to be carried out on horseback as he 
rode from place to place. In short, he continued to 
practise, as nearly as possible, the same exercises of 
piety as had nourished his soul in religion, and which 
he found equally necessary to sustain him amid the 
cares of his pastoral charge. 

He was no less faithful to the old penances and 
mortifications, although he knew how to accommodate 
them to his new duties, with that wise discretion which 
was also the result of his monastic education. He 
continued his abstinence from flesh meat, but in con- 
sideration of his weakness, and the exhausting work he 
had to get through, as well as to show a courteous 
condescension to his guests, he often eat fish, and 
occasionally drank a little wine. During his repasts, 
some one read aloud to him, as if he had still been in 

1 Mii^H a Vita, bk. v. ch. 16. On this point see the note at the end of 
the chapter. 


a Carthusian monastery, either the Holy Scriptures, 
or the Acts of the Martyrs, the Lives of the Saints, or 
some of the homilies of the Fathers of the Church. 
When the time came for recreation, he broke silence, 
and showed himself full of cheerfulness and affability, 
without ever forgetting what was due to his position. 
" Let us rejoice as the saints rejoice," 1 he would say to 
his companions, and he himself set the example of that 
sweet and serene joy which belongs to pure souls alone. 
On certain extraordinary days, when he had to take 
part in more noisy festivals, it was observed that he 
took special precautions to keep himself recollected, as 
a true Religious should always do. When, as was the 
custom at that time, the banquet was enlivened by 
the performance of minstrels, the good Bishop hardly 
ever raised his eyes from the table, and his grave and 
holy thoughts could be read in the expression of his 
face. As soon as the meal was over, he rose immedi- 
ately, and withdrew to his own apartments with the 
chief guests, charming and edifying them by his con- 
versation. His hospitality was renowned throughout 
the diocese, and when on a journey he always invited 
the parish priest of any place he was visiting, to his 
own table. " We must remember," he used to say to 
his major-domo, " the text of Holy Scripture : * And 
the levite that is within thy gates beware thou forsake 
him not.' " A perfect simplicity, which was in con- 
formity with the spirit of the Gospel and the customs 
of his Order, preserved him from all affectation of 
austerity, and gave a great charm to his society. He 
knew how to make himself all things to all men, and to 
find a word in season for every one. 

One day, several men of the world began to praise 

1 In the Book of Judith (xvi. 24), we read that, "the people were joyful 
in the sight of the sanctuary." This was doubtless the thought in the 
Saint's mind. 


the life of the Carthusian monks, in his presence ; they 
compared it to the life of angels, and complained of the 
many obstacles and temptations in their own career. 
The holy Bishop, knowing that this was not altogether 
sincere, and that they had neither will nor vocation 
for a cloistered life, spoke in these words: "Do not 
imagine that the Kingdom of Heaven is only for monks 
and hermits. When God will judge each one of us, he 
will not reproach the lost for not having been monks 
or solitaries, but for not having been true Christians. 
Now, to be a true Christian, three things are necessary ; 
and if one of those three things is wanting to us, we 
are Christians only in name, and our sentence will be 
all the more severe, the more we have made profession 
of perfection. The three things are : Charity in the heart, 
truth on the lips, and purity of life; if we are wanting in 
these, we are unworthy of the name of Christian." 1 

This was a favourite maxim with St. Hugh, and he 
loved to repeat it and to develop it according to the 
capacity of his hearers. To say the truth, it would 
be hard to sum up more concisely the moral teaching 
of the Gospel. It is this triple radiance of charity, 
truth, and purity which constitutes the loveliness of a 
true disciple of Jesus Christ, while, at the same time, 
nothing is more common or more unfortunate in its 
results than the attempt to do honour to one of these 
three virtues to the exclusion of the rest. Whatever the 
enemies of monasticism may say and think, the cloister 
is the best school wherein to learn that charity must 
not be separated either from truth or from purity. If 
faith and honour were banished from the rest of the 
world, they would still find a home in the hearts of 
those who have trodden all human respect under foot 
in order to conquer for themselves the kingdom of 

1 Mil ^ >iii I'ita, bk. iv. ch. 9. " Teneatur caritas in cordc, veritas in 
ore, castitas quoque in corpore non fallaciter Christian!. " 


truth. If the secret were ever lost of that admirable 
union of truth and mercy which, in the language of 
Holy Scripture, ought to meet and to embrace, we might 
recover it again in the example of those monks who, 
while possessed of the spirit of truest charity, put in 
practice this maxim of an early Carthusian writer : 
" Truth is apt to be bitter and unpalatable to your 
brethren, not through its own fault but through theirs, 
in the same way that it is weak eyes which are hurt by 
a strong light, not sound ones. But take heed not to 
render the truth more bitter still, by forgetting to speak 
it as it should be spoken, that is to say, with affection 
and charity." 

St. Hugh's own example spoke well for the happy 
results of monastic teaching in this particular. This 
bishop-monk, as we have seen already, and shall see 
again in the sequel, was not less intrepid in the defence 
of justice and truth, than full of compassion for the 
poor, the ignorant, and the helpless. He was as firm as 
he was kind, and the strength of his character was as 
conspicuous as the goodness of his heart. But with all 
this he was equally remarkable for an unstained purity 
of soul, which fulfilled to the very letter his own idea of 
a perfect Christian. 

He knew that it was impossible to take too many 
precautions to preserve this delicate blossom from every 
breath of harm, and yet he was not blind to the fact 
that these precautions ought not to stand in the way 
of duty and the service of souls. His conduct with 
regard to women was especially distinguished by its 
paternal kindness and gentleness, as far removed from 
any dangerous presumption, as from excessive pre- 
caution or fear. With perfect tact, he drew them on 
to follow the example of those holy women, the saints 
of God, whom he ever held up for their imitation. 
Particularly did he love to speak to them of her who 


is Blessed among women, the glory and model of her 
sex. " You owe a special love to God," he would say, 
*' because He condescended to be born of a woman. 
That is a privilege which honours every woman. No 
man can say that he was the father of God, but Mary 
was truly the Mother of God." 1 

To those who sought his guidance, he preached 
above all and before all else, the accomplishment of 
the duties of their state of life. " To do at all times 
and in all places what they ought to do, and to do it 
with the greatest possible perfection;" 2 such was his 
continual recommendation, as it was his own invariable 
practice. This is the true monastic spirit, but, also, 
in a modified form, it must be the spirit of all who wish 
to lead a Christian life. All the faithful should be at 
one in this, as the holy Bishop said, however diverse 
their several vocations may be, and thus, monks and 
warriors, learned men and poor ignorant labourers, 
virgins and married women, may all walk side by side 
along the road which leads to eternal life. 

With this breadth of view and soundness of judg- 
ment, it is not surprising that St. Hugh, in dealing with 
the various religious communities of his diocese, acted 
in accordance with the wise directions of St. Bernard. 
" We are all," wrote that holy Doctor, " whatever our 
state of life may be, whether we be monks of Cluny, or 
Cistercians, Canons Regular, or simple laymen, what- 
ever be our age, sex, and condition, at all times, and in 
all places, from the first to the last, we are all, I say, 
equally members of the Mystical Body of Christ. . . . 
If you ask me why I do not belong to all the Orders, 
because I praise them all, this is my reply : I praise 
them and I love them all. I approve of all who live 
piously and devoutly in the holy Church of God. I 
belong to one Order alone by my rule of life, but I 

1 Afagna Vita, bk. iv. ch. <j. 2 Ibid. bk. iii. ch. 13. 


embrace all the others in the bond of charity. And 
this charity, I am confident, will make me participate 
in the merit even of those observances which I do not 
myself practise." l 

The numerous communities of monks and nuns in 
the diocese of Lincoln soon perceived the interest 
which our Saint took in all that concerned them. 
They found in him a champion of their rights, and an 
upholder of their Rules and Constitutions. Although 
he never hesitated to insist on any necessary reforms, 
the Bishop was far from wishing to propagate indis- 
criminately the special austerities of his own Order, 
and never imposed or advised their practice for Con- 
gregations who followed another rule of life. He even 
blamed Abbots and Superiors who wished to enforce 
perpetual abstinence in monasteries in which it had 
not before been observed. As he pointed out to one 
of them, such an innovation might produce a very bad 
spirit, especially if the table of the Abbot were served 
more delicately than that of the other Religious. " You 
who are Superiors," he said, "ought to be the example 
and consolation of your monks, and if you introduce a 
penance that is not prescribed by the Rule, you do not 
edify the community, but you provoke them to anger. 
. . . If I myself observe perpetual abstinence, it is 
because I belong to an Order in which it is practised. 
But, as you yourselves must see, the Carthusians are 
not a numerous body, and their austerities are not 
suitable for persons whose constitutions are delicate. 
Your own Order, on the contrary, aims at attracting 
many subjects and accommodating itself to all tempera- 
ments ; for that reason it ought to show some indulgence 
to human infirmity, and to consider the needs of the 
feebler among the brethren." 2 

1 S. Bernardi, Apologia ad Gulielmum S. Thedorici Abbatem, 3 et 4. 
2 Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 16. 


Under other circumstances, the holy Bishop would 
undoubtedly have added that there were man)' persons 
of delicate health who were quite able to keep the 
Carthusian Rule, but the tone of what he said was 
entirely in conformity with the traditions of his Order, 
which from its very foundation had been remarkable 
for its perfect disinterestedness. Thus, Dom Guigo, the 
author of the Constitutions, in 1132, advised Blessed 
Stephen of Obazine to adopt the Cistercian Rule, and 
not that of his own Order. " The Cistercians also," he 
said, " are travellers along the royal road. Their 
Constitutions can lead a soul to the highest perfection. 
With us, the number of persons we may receive is 
limited, as is the amount of funds we may possess. 
For you, who have already several monks under your 
guidance, and who intend to receive a great many 
more, that Rule is best which is not tied down to such 
definite restrictions, but which is limited solely by the 
high standard of fervour and virtue it enjoins upon all 
who belong to it." 1 

In these two answers, both inspired by the same 
spirit, is to be found an example of that justice and 
charity which ought to prevail not only in the relations 
of individuals, but also in those of corporate bodies. 
Without ceasing to cherish a preference for their own 
way of life, all Religious ought to be ready to acknow- 
ledge the merits of other Orders and Congregations, 
and to rejoice at their prosperity with true brotherly 

Our Carthusian Bishop was not satisfied with 
speaking, he acted, and his influence was all-powerful 
in reviving regularity in the monasteries under his 
jurisdiction. One slight memorial of his canonical 
visitations remains to us, in a copy of the Constitu- 

1 Mabillun, Annul. lxxx\i. n. 7^ ; Hist. LitUrairc d< la France t 
voL xi. 


tions given by him to a community of religious women 
at Gotham. The following is a translation of some 
of the most important passages in this interesting docu- 
ment : 

" To all the faithful in Christ, who may see 
this present writing, Hugh, by the grace of God, Bishop 
of Lincoln, health and benediction in the Lord. 

"The duties of our charge having brought us to 
Gotham, there to visit the Congregation of Servants 
of Christ, we have endeavoured to remedy certain 
things which appeared to us defective. As the number 
of nuns at present is too large for the resources of the 
house, we have ordained, with the consent of the 
chaplain, of the Prioress, and the rest of the community, 
that in future there shall not be more than thirty choir 
nuns, ten lay-sisters, and twelve lay-brothers. The 
service of the Altar shall be entrusted to one chief 
chaplain, assisted by two others only. . . . As the 
renunciation of all personal property is a necessary 
consequence of the religious profession, we expressly 
forbid any one in this house to possess anything of 
her own, after having taken the religious habit. 
Everything must be in common. Let the nuns, the 
chaplains, the Brothers, the Sisters, and the guests, 
be all fed with the same bread, and refreshed with the 
same drink, except in the case of the sick and infirm, 
who shall have what is necessary for them. As the 
society of secular persons may disturb the peace of the 
Religious, we do not allow any person in secular dress 
to remain in the house except for one day and one 
night, as a matter of necessary hospitality. We ordain 
also that no secular person or member of any other 
Religious Order shall be admitted to speak with any 
of the sisters in private. . . . No nun can be allowed 
to leave the house to visit her relatives without a 


special permission from the Prioress, and the head 
chaplain, which is not to be granted except in a case 
of grave necessity. In order to prevent the crime of 
simony which precipitates many souls into error and 
damnation, we expressly forbid any person to be 
admitted into the congregation by a compact and in 
exchange for a sum of money, or any temporal advantage. 
. . . And, under pain of excommunication, we enjoin 
upon every person residing in this house, the faithful 
observance of all the Rules here laid down." 1 

Many other documents show us how he protected 
the possessions, and defended the privileges of the 
Congregations of his diocese. 2 Such are those charters 
or deeds of gift, in which the motive of the donation 
is thus indicated : " To satisfy the just demands of our 
Religious, and by our episcopal authority to prevent 
the alienation of the gifts made to Christ's poor." 
Two of these deeds throw light on the relations of 

1 This document, as printed by Dugdale, vol. v. p. 577, without names 
of witnesses or other indication of the date, affords no means of determining 
whether it emanated from St. Hugh, or whether it belongs to the long 
and active episcopate of his namesake Hugh de Wells. Apart from the 
character of the provisions it contains, which as the author of the life points 
out, are in thorough accord with St. Hugh's mind and spirit, I may refer 
to one little fact which possibly points to a special connection between 
St. Hugh and the community in question. Gotham or Nun-Cotton was a 
Cistercian Nunnery, as were also those of Legbourne or Leyburn, Green- 
field, Gokwell, and Stykeswold, all in Lincolnshire. Now we have some 
indications of the special interest of St. Hugh in these foundations. A 
charter of his to Greenfield is printed by Dugdale, and in the common 
seal of Leyburn there is represented underneath a figure of our Lady the 
head of a bishop with mitre and crozier. (The matrix of this seal was 
in the possession of the late Mr. Robert Berkeley of Spetchley. ) It is hard to 
see whom this can be intended to represent if not St. Hugh ; on the 
other hand, if St. Hugh, in virtue of the Constitutions summarized above, 
was looked upon as a sort of lawgiver by the Cistercian communities of 
Lincolnshire, it would be very natural after his canonization that his portrait 
should be introduced into the common-seal of any of their houses. [Eo.] 

- On St. Hugh's relations with the Benedictine Abbeys of Kvnshum 
and St. Albans, see bk. iii. ch. 3. 


St. Hugh with the nuns of St. Michael, near Stamford, 
and those of the Convent of Greenfield. In five other 
deeds we see him in communication with the monks 
of the hospital at Brackley, with those of the Monastery 
of St. Oswald at Bardeney, with those of St. Andrew 
at Northampton, with those of Luffield, and with the 
Canons Regular of Sempringham at Malton. 1 

The founder of the Order last named, St. Gilbert of 
Sempringham, was still living, during the first years of 
St. Hugh's episcopate. Everything tends to make us 
believe that the two servants of God were personally 
acquainted with each other, and we will pause for a few 
moments to give a short account of this illustrious 
ascetic, who is, like our Saint, one of the glories of the 
diocese of Lincoln. 

Gilbert was born in Lincolnshire in the year 1083, 
and ordained priest by Bishop Alexander, who also 
wished to appoint him Archdeacon. But Gilbert 
refused to accept any ecclesiastical dignity, and pre- 
ferred to found in his parish of Sempringham an 
Order of cloistered nuns, which developed rapidly. In 
1148, he presented himself at the General Chapter of 
the Cistercian Order, presided over by Pope Eugenius 
III., and humbly begged the Cistercians to take charge 

1 This is probably very far from being a complete list of the extant 
charters of St. Hugh in favour of religious communities. The Historical 
MSS. Commission (Report xii. Appendix 9, p. 559) lets us know that there 
are a considerable number of similar documents belonging to the reign of 
Henry II., preserved in the library of the Dean and Chapter at Lincoln, 
some of which probably emanated from St. Hugh. There are also a great 
quantity of charters in the Record Office, which have as yet only partially 
been calendared in the two vols. of the Catalogue of Ancient Deeds. Even 
at the British Museum there are a few muniments which show St. Hugh, 
for instance, to have been in close relation with the Premonstratensians of 
Newhouse, and the Cistercian Nuns of Greenfield. See Harleian charters, 
43 H. 38. b ; 43 H. 23 ; 43 H. 22 ; 43 H. 24. Another charter of St. Hugh's, 
conceded to the nuns of Catesby, Northamptonshire, has been printed in 
full in the volume of Ancient Charters edited by Mr. J. H. Round for the 
Pipe Roll Society. Others, again, are in the Ramsey Cartulary. [ED. J 


of his convents and monasteries. But they were not 
willing to undertake this, and the Pope commanded 
him to continue his own good work. Returning to 
England, after forming a friendship with St. Bernard 
and St. Malachy, Gilbert founded a new Congregation 
of Regular Canons, to whom he gave the Rule of 
St. Augustine. During his lifetime, he established 
thirteen religious houses, four of Regular Canons, and 
nine of nuns, containing in all more than two thousand 

To a wonderful austerity of life, he united an 
energy of character which was specially manifested 
by his bold defence of St. Thomas of Canterbury. 
St. Gilbert was accused to the King of having sent 
large sums of money to the Archbishop, during his 
exile in France. He was threatened with banishment 
also, if he would not take a solemn oath that this 
accusation was false. He refused thus to exculpate 
himself from what, as he considered, would have been 
a very praiseworthy action, or to appear in any way 
to sympathize with the persecution of the holy primate. 
He accordingly remained patiently waiting for the 
order which was to drive him into banishment, when 
a royal message unexpectedly arrived setting him 
unconditionally at liberty. 1 

May we not imagine how delighted he must have 
been, towards the end of his life, to hear how the new 
Bishop of Lincoln had fearlessly spoken the truth to 
that same King, and had triumphed over his anger ? 
Was he not full of joy to welcome this Carthusian, 
this true monk at heart, as the protector of his numerous 

1 The Life of St. Gilbert has been printed in Dugdale's Mon.isticon, 
from MS. Cotton, Cleopatra, B. x. A MS. of the same Life in the Bodleian 
(Digby, 360) proves that St. Gilbert had met St. Hugh. (See Note to this 
chapter, p. 236). We also find St. Gilbert's name amongst the witnesses 
to a document issued by Bishop Chesney (c. 1160 1166), touching the 
immunities of the Lincoln Canons. (Statutes, Edit. Bradshaw.) [Eo.J 


religious family ? We cannot doubt that it was so. 
When St. Gilbert peacefully passed to his rest in 1189, 
at the age of 106 years, surrounded by the veneration 
of all, he must, we believe, have counted St. Hugh 
amongst his devoted friends, and have begged Heaven's 
blessing upon the beginnings of an episcopate so full of 


The custom of requiring that half of the Canons 
engaged in the recitation of Office should always be 
standing during the chanting of the psalms, seems to 
have been general in England. In the summary of 
Lincoln observances (c. 1215), referred to on a previous 
page, 1 it is stated that: "All ought to remain standing 
during all the hours the whole year through, but with 
the following mitigations. . . . During matins those 
present in choir remain seated while the lessons are 
being read, and while the responsoria are being sung as 
far as Gloria Pain. . . . Whenever the psalms are being 
chanted they may sit alternately, except on doubles 
(praterquam in duplicibus festis), but with this proviso, 
that when any one is seated during any psalm, his next 
neighbour must remain standing. . . . Moreover, this 
permission to sit alternately does not extend to the 
choir boys, or to the rulers of the choir, who are to 
remain standing continuously whenever psalms are 
being chanted." 

There is a good deal in the wording of the Ordi- 
narium Cartmicnse and the Statuta Antiqua which seems 
to suggest some relation with the early thirteenth 
century abstract of the Lincoln customs from which 
I have just quoted. However, in 1259, the practice 
of the Carthusians, as to sitting at the Office, while 
l Wilkins, i. p. 535. 


agreeing closely with the Lincoln customs as to the 
occasions when it was permitted, differs in this, that, 
among the Carthusians, the whole of one side of the 
choir sat down together, while the other remained 
standing, an exchange being made at the end of the 
psalm. 1 Whether this, however, was the Carthusian 
practice in St. Hugh's time, it seems impossible to 
ascertain. It may be that the custom originated with 
St. Hugh, and spread from Lincoln to Salisbury and 
London. As a matter of fact, the summary of Lincoln 
customs which I have been quoting from was probably 
drawn up earlier than any existing code of Cathedral 
statutes which has been preserved to us, those which 
are assigned to St. Osmund of Salisbury having received 
their present shape after the year 1215. In any case, 
this alternation of sitting and standing was observed at 
Sarum and at St. Paul's and at Wells, though it was 
always regarded as a concession, and the St. Paul's 
statutes expressly note that the licence was granted 
prapter infirmitatem et dcbilitatem? 

St. Hugh's punctiliousness in all matters pertaining 
to Church ceremonial is well illustrated in an anecdote 
told by Giraldus Cambrensis concerning him and an 
episcopal namesake of his, Hugh de Nonant, Bishop of 
Coventry. One day, which chanced to be the feast of 
a confessor, the two Bishops were about to assist at the 
same Mass, apparently the principal, or conventual 
Mass, of the church in which they were present. The 
Bishop of Coventry accordingly began to read the 
Introit, Os justi meditabituv sapientiam, aloud, but in his 
speaking voice, so at least I interpret Giraldus' phrase, 

1 The Sititittd Antiqiia say : Chorus in quo est cantor hebdomadarius 
stdet lotus ad primos psalmos et alter ad secundos, part i. ch. 37, 29 (Edit. 
1510). The Ordinarium of 1582 seems to require that the change should 
be made at the end of every second psalm. 

3 Cf. Vetus R eg i strum barisbtriensc (Rolls Series), i. p. 26; II' til 
Statutes, Edit. Reynolds, p. 3. 


voce rotunda et prosaica pronnnciatione non melica. This did 
not at all please the Bishop of Lincoln, and he promptly 
began to sing the same Introit in resonant tones, 
dwelling upon the notes, and introducing all the proper 
modulations. The Bishop of Coventry protested : " We 
must make haste," he said, " for the King will be 
waiting for us, and he is in a great hurry." " I can't 
help that," his brother of Lincoln replied, " we must do 
homage first to the King of kings. No secular employ- 
ment can dispense us from what we owe to Him ; and 
our service to-day should be festive, not restive "festive 
potiits hoc festum et non festine est agendum. The end of it 
was that St. Hugh came very late to the council- 
chamber, long after the others had assembled, but as it 
happened, and Giraldus seems to insinuate that a 
special providence ordered it so, no business had yet 
been broached, and nobody was kept waiting. 

Hugh Nonant was one of the courtier bishops, a 
diplomatist and man of affairs. His hostility to the 
monks was almost proverbial. " If I had my way," he 
said to King Richard, "there would not be a monk left 
in England." Not long after this he banished the 
monks who formed the chapter of Coventry, and substi- 
tuted secular canons in their place. An appeal was 
lodged with the Holy See, and in 1197, Archbishop 
Hubert of Canterbury, our Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, 
and Samson, Abbot of Bury St. Edmunds, were 
appointed by Pope Celestine III. to see that the Papal 
judgment decreeing the restoration of the monks was 
carried into effect. 1 It is interesting to find Abbot 
Samson, so familiar to all readers of Carlyle's Past and 
Present as the hero of the chronicle of Jocelyn de 
Brakelond, brought into close relation with his equally 

1 See this document in Hoveden (Rolls Series), vol. iv. p. 35. Some- 
thing more will be said on this subject in bk. iii. ch. 5. The commission 
was renewed and extended in further letters from Innocent III, 


strong-minded contemporary, the Bishop of Lincoln. 
Not less curious and interesting is it to learn that 
Hugh de Nonant, the sworn foe of the monks, resigned 
his bishopric the same year, withdrew to the Cluniac 
Monastery of Bee Herluin, where, it seems, he was 
admitted into the Order, and died there in 1198, after 
spending the intervening months in prayer, almsgiving, 
and penance. In the middle ages, the spirit of faith 
was often strong in those who might otherwise seem 
the most unpromising subjects. 

Giraldus, who tells the story narrated above, adds 
that in the summer of 1189, the year of Henry II. 's 
death, while Hugh, with several other bishops, was in 
Normandy, following the King as he hurried from 
place to place, the only prelate who would not travel 
on the great festivals of the Church, but insisted on 
celebrating them all with due solemnity, was the 
Bishop of Lincoln. 

With regard to St. Gilbert of Sempringham, we 
learn from a passage in the Bodleian Life that he knew 
St. Hugh, and that shortly before his death he deferred 
to the Bishop's judgment in some points concerning 
the Constitutions of the Gilbertine Order. 1 [Eo.] 

1 "Ante pauca enim decessus sui tempera, providens perpetuae in 
posterum collect! gregis firmitati, dissidium illud quod a laicis conversis 
quondam fuerat exortum coram bonse memoriae Hugone Lincolniensi 
episcopo cum communis capituli assensu pacificavit, quern modum et 
mensuram in victa et vestitu et ceteris motibus suis tenerent satis rationabili 
moderatione decernens. Quam constitutionem sibi gratam esse debere 
judicantes omnes laici amplexati sunt nihil addendum vel minuendum fore 
statuentes. Ubi tamen secundum priorem constanciae suse rigorem illud 
excepit, ut si quid contra primam eorum professionem constitueretur, hoc 
non ad eum spectare asseruit nee se voluit laudari auctorem." (Digby, 360, 
fol. 45, r.) I owe the transcription of this passage to the kindness of the 
Rev. Father de Smedt, S.J., President of the Rollandists, 



NOTWITHSTANDING all the care he took to remain 
faithful to the Carthusian Rule, St. Hugh never ceased 
to regret the peaceful life of his solitary cell. Several 
times he begged of the Pope to allow him to give up 
his episcopal charge and return to the cloister ; a 
permission which he would have regarded, to use the 
phrase current in his Order, as a real " Mercy." But 
less fortunate in this respect than several other Carthu- 
sian Bishops, 1 his request was always refused, and at 
last his messengers were severely reprimanded, and 
dismissed in such a manner that St. Hugh never 
ventured to appeal again. 2 

There was one consolation, however, left to him, 
and this he found in his long and frequent visits to his 
beloved monastery at Witham. If his duties permitted, 
he would go there once or twice each year, and make 
a stay of a month or sometimes longer. He had a 
special preference for making his retreats in the autumn. 
At that time of the year, nature herself seems to preach 
recollection and preparation for death ; there is a touch of 

1 Amongst others : Engelbert, who was a Carthusian monk before he was 
appointed Bishop of Chalons, afterwards allowed to retire to the Monastery 
of Mont Dieu : St. Artaud, Bishop of Belley, allowed to return, to his old 
Carthusian Monastery at Arvieres. Of St. Artaud we shall hear again in 
connection with St. Hugh. (Annales Ot'd. Carlus. iii. p. 95.) 

2 Magtia Vita, bk. v. ch. 13. 


austerity about the silence and denudation of the woods; 
and the soul is open to grave thoughts, and prepared 
for that interior harvest which must be accompanied 
by a total renunciation of all things. 

When St. Hugh drew near the Monastery of 
Witham, his heart was filled with joy, and those who 
watched him saw the colour come into his face, and 
his eyes shine. He, usually so silent, could not contain 
his happiness, and expressed it in words to his com- 
panions. Nothing makes us appreciate solitude so 
much as the tumult of the world ; nothing is so sweet 
as to quit our intercourse with worldly things and 
persons, for the holy society of souls consecrated to 

The monastery at Witham was in the same state 
of fervour and religious observance, as when St. Hugh 
had left there. The Prior was Dom Bovo, the venerable 
monk who had so strongly advocated sending Hugh 
to England, and had also predicted his future pro- 
motion to the episcopate. Dom Bovo, as Prior of 
Witham, neglected nothing to maintain in his monastery 
that heavenly peace which has its origin in religious 
virtue. He applied to the former Prior of the Grande 
Chartreuse, Dom Guigo II., for a copy of his Instruc- 
tions on a life of solitude. Dom Guigo had in fact 
dedicated the book to him, and called it, De Quadripertito 
Exercitio Cella " On the Four Exercises proper for a 
Monastic Cell," in it he enlarged upon the advantages 
of reading, contemplation, prayer, and work, with many 
quotations from Holy Scripture, and a sound know- 
ledge of spiritual things. The preface expressed the 
veneration felt for Dom Bovo by his former Superior, 
whose eminent sanctity we know. And we may well 
say that these directions for the guidance of a solitary 
life were faithfully reproduced in the actions of the 
Prior of Witham and his monks. 


An edifying death occurred at Witham soon after 
Dom Bovo succeeded St. Hugh as Prior. Brother 
Gerard of Nevers yielded up his holy soul to God, 
surrounded by the loving veneration of his Religious 
brethren, as well as of the visitors to the monastery, 
among whom chanced to be found Peter of Blois. It 
is from him we learn that for seven years, the holy 
Brother had ardently desired death, and prepared for 
it by his prayers and tears. " In all his actions," says 
this writer, " he longed after Jesus Christ, despising the 
things of earth, and looking up to Heaven; using this 
world as though he used it not." Although a man 
of no learning, he understood every point of Catholic 
doctrine, as perfectly as if he had studied all his life 
in the theological schools of Paris. " His only Master 
was the Lord who taught the Apostles." And Peter 
of Blois ends in these eloquent words : " May my 
wisdom and my philosophy be those of Brother Gerard, 
whose heart was full of Jesus Christ and of Jesus Christ 
alone." 1 

During his retreats at Witham, the sole desire of 
St. Hugh was to resemble in all things his brothers in 
Religion. A cell was always reserved for him, similar 
to those of the other monks ; he occupied it alone, 
without any attendant, laying aside every symbol of 
rank or dignity. His clothes, his bed, and everything 
about him, differed in nothing from what was common 
to all. Every day he celebrated Holy Mass with 
ardent devotion, assisted only by the Father Sacristan 
and his chaplain. With the sole exception of the 
pastoral ring, his vestments while celebrating were 
those of any other Carthusian. He insisted on taking 
his turn as hebdomadarius, or officiating priest for the 

1 " Sapientia ergo tnea, et philosophia mea sit philosophia Fratris 
Gerardi, qui nihil habebat in corde nisi Jesum Christum." (Petrus Bles. 
in compend. super Job : Annal. Ord. Cartus. vol. iii. p. 58.) 


week, blessing the holy water before the Sunday Mass, 
and chanting the prayers in the Office. On Sunday 
evenings, he went with the rest of his brothers to beg 
for bread at the refectory door. There was but one 
privilege he asked of the Prior on the occasion of these 
visits, and that was to have free access to the basket 
where the remnants of bread were put. It was his 
practice to select the hardest and driest crusts, and 
carry them away to serve him as a treat, for he 
declared that they tasted much better than any ordinary 
bread. Another of his pleasures was to wash the plates 
and dishes he had used, or even any he accidentally 
came across; he did this most carefully, and took an 
innocent pride in the thoroughness with which his work 
was performed. 

His greatest wish, however, was to find some one 
who would be willing to give him fraternal correction, 
and of course this was somewhat difficult, in spite of 
all his efforts to humble himself. He succeeded, how- 
ever, at last in inducing one of the oldest and most 
edifying monks of Witham to render him this important 
service. The admonitor was Dom Adam, who had 
formerly been a Premonstratensian and Abbot of 
Dryburgh. A confidential friendship thus grew up 
between these two saintly men ; and resulted in the 
frequent exchange of vigorous exhortations with which 
they animated each other to progress in perfection. 
Dom Adam, whose piety and learning gave him great 
authority, was not afraid to read his friend many a 
lecture, which was gratefully received, although perhaps 
scarcely deserved. "Many people," he would say, 
" admire you as a great and holy Bishop ; but I will 
ask you what have you done that is worthy of a Pastor 
of souls ? . . . What employment do you make of the 
talent entrusted to you ? Do you dare to think that 
there is any comparison between your labours and 


those of the Apostles, who, despising all dangers, 
founded our Holy Church, and shed their blood for 
her sake ? " And the good old monk would continue 
drawing his picture of the contrast between the Bishops 
of his own day and their heroic predecessors. Hugh 
listened to him in all humility, and forgot the good he 
had already done, to think of all that remained for 
him to do. Then, in his turn, he exhorted his monitor 
to strive more and more to be a perfect monk, and so 
the two friends spurred each other on to fresh efforts in 
the service of God. 

But there was another most efficacious humiliation 
which Hugh never neglected, namely, that of sacra- 
mental confession. Besides his weekly confession, 
St. Hugh had recourse to the tribunal of penance 
whenever his conscience reproached him ever so 
slightly. He made many general confessions of his 
whole life from childhood, and during each retreat he 
wished at least to mention all the faults he could 
remember since the retreat of the year before. All 
these repeated self-accusations were made in a spirit 
of deep compunction, and were marked by a humility 
which found expression in the following favourite 
maxim of his. St. Francis de Sales often quoted it in 
these terms: "The evil deeds which I commit, are 
really evil, and really mine ; the good that I do is 
neither wholly good, nor wholly my own." 1 

He who humbles himself shall be exalted. When 
St. Hugh retired to his cell, he was there raised to such 
heights of contemplation and union with God, that he 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iv. ch. 9. According to the Ann&e Sainte de la 
Visitation (vol. iv. p. 2), St. Francis de Sales attributes this maxim to 
St. Hugh of Grenoble. This is not the only instance in which the two 
St. Hughs have been confounded, and the confusion between them is very 
natural. It is just possible, however, that both these two, who were com- 
patriots and nearly contemporaries, may have given expression to the same 


seemed already to enjoy a foretaste of Heaven. To 
him might have been applied that beautiful description 
in the book written by his old Superior. " When you 
are by yourself in your cell, remember that you ought 
not to feel lonely. You are never less lonely than when 
you are alone, if only you are really what you ought 
to be. Are you lonely, when retiring into the sanctuary 
of a pure heart, detached from all earthly things, and 
closing fast the door against them, you pray in secret 
to your Father who is in secret ? Are you lonely, 
when rising on the wings of love, and of an understand- 
ing supernaturally enlightened, all vain and earthly 
thoughts are laid aside, and the spirit roams free 
through the splendid mansions of those heavenly beings 
who continually behold the Face of the Father. Are 
you lonely, when your soul illumined and enraptured 
soars up among the patriarchs, through the midst of 
the prophets, into the senate of the Apostles, amid the 
plains studded with the brilliant roses of the martyrs, 
the beautiful violets of the confessors, the perfumed 
lilies of the virgins ? Ah ! surely ; it is good for us to 
be here I" 1 

Hugh also was transfigured on his own solitary 
Thabor, and when visitors came to break in upon his 
retirement, they found him with his face shining with 
that heavenly radiance which told of the presence of 
the Spirit of God. On such Occasions, he tried his 
hardest to resume his ordinary manner, but in spite of 
himself, some of the secrets of Divine grace were 
betrayed. Burning words flowed from his lips, and 
there was an exquisite tenderness in his voice which 
captivated all who came near him. 

Yet he never refused to interrupt his contemplation 
for any cause of charity or necessity ; still less did he 
hesitate to join with cheerfulness and alacrity in those 

1 Dt nuadripertito Extrcitio Cdlce, ch. xxviii. 


few common recreations which are doled out to the 
Carthusian monk with a wisely sparing hand. Naturally, 
he was the centre of such gatherings, and they looked 
to him to tell them something that would interest and 
edify. He did not disappoint their expectations, but 
had a store of anecdotes about the holy men of his 
time, and of his native country, which made those 
hours of relaxation delightful to all. According to the 
recollections of his chaplain, he specially loved to speak 
of St. Hugh of Grenoble, of St. Anthelmus of Belley, 
of Brother William of Nevers, and of a certain Cister- 
cian monk, who had distinguished himself in the 
Crusades by his extraordinary courage. 

The two holy Bishops, Hugh of Grenoble and 
Anthelmus, whom he thus delighted in extolling, had 
been, one of them the friend, and the other the successor, 
of St. Bruno. Both of them had maintained the 
practice of retiring at intervals to the desert of the 
Grande Chartreuse, as St. Hugh himself did to Witham. 
Both were remarkable for a singular regard for the 
virtue of holy purity, and this was what the Bishop 
of Lincoln loved specially to dwell upon in chatting 
with his friends within the cloister. He told them how 
St. Hugh of Grenoble never raised his eyes in the 
presence of any woman, and knew none of them by 
sight, excepting one lady who frequently sought his 
direction ; while St. Anthelmus, as he himself said, 
looked at all women indifferently, but always pictured 
them to himself in the hideous disenchantment of the 
tomb. 1 

The name of Brother William of Nevers was not 
unworthy of being mentioned by our Saint, by the side 
of these two holy Bishops. His history has been very 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iv. ch. 12. St. Anthelmus' own phrase is almost 
too vigorous to bear translation. " Ego sane," he is reported to have said, 
" feminas indifterenter quaslibet aspicio, sed mox universas excorio." 


briefly touched upon above, 1 and it must always have 
had a special interest for those who had been the 
constant associates of his near relative Gerard. 

As for the brave crusader who also occupied a place 
of honour in the tales of St. Hugh, we think that the 
Saint must have made his acquaintance while he was 
still a monk and procurator at the Grande Chartreuse. 
He was a gentleman of Maurienne, whose name has 
not come down to us. He left his house, his wife, and 
his children, to fight in the Holy Land. There, after 
having slain many of the enemies of the Cross, he fell 
into the hands of the Saracens, and underwent a cruel 

Instead of losing courage, he strengthened the 
Christians who were his fellow-captives, and prepared 
them to suffer martyrdom with joy. Sentence of death 
was in fact pronounced upon all of them, but the young 
Mussulman chief who was appointed to carry it into 
execution, was so struck by the noble bearing of the 
knight of Maurienne, that he spared his life, and 
eventually released him. Grieved to the heart at being 
thus deprived of the martyr's crown, the crusader 
returned to his own country, and soon took advantage 
of a severe injury received in some military exercise, 
to retire completely from the world. He took the 
Cistercian habit, and was cured soon afterwards. 
Every year he was allowed to pay a visit to the Grande 
Chartreuse, which he looked upon as the school of high 
perfection. He attentively studied the ways of the 
monks there, for his own profit and that of his brothers 
in Religion. While he was at the Grande Chartreuse, 
he always praised the Cistercians ; but as soon as 
he returned to his own monastery, he spoke of nothing 
but the virtues of the Carthusians. It was his aim by 
these means to enkindle in both monasteries a holy 
1 Bk. i. ch. Jo. 


spirit of emulation, and the pattern of his own life 
corresponded well with the end he had in view. These 
were a few of the stories related at recreation by the 
holy Bishop of Lincoln. 

Among those who listened to him was good Brother 
Aynard, whose heart kept its youth, in spite of his 
extreme old age. The remembrance of the Grande 
Chartreuse, and the desire of seeing it once more, had 
taken a strong possession of him. Seeing that his 
presence was no longer necessary at Witham, he 
begged to be allowed to return to his beloved desert ; 
but his prayer was not granted. The idea, however, 
clung to him, and it seems that one day, while St. Hugh 
chanced to be there for one of his retreats, he took his 
stick and set out for that promised land, towards which 
all the longing desire of his old age had turned. The 
Bishop was informed of his departure, and at once started 
in pursuit. He soon overtook the old man in a neigh- 
bouring wood. " Now, may God forgive you, dear 
Brother ! " he said. " What do you mean by setting off 
without me, who have always considered you as my 
father ? Are you going to leave me alone in this strange 
land ? Oh ! I know your good intentions. You wish to 
pass your remaining days in the midst of our holy 
hermits of the Grande Chartreuse. Very well. I am 
coming with you." With these words, he took off his 
pastoral ring and gave it to his attendants, saying: 
" Make all possible haste, and carry this ring to our 
good lords, the Canons of Lincoln. Tell them to choose 
another Bishop, for I am going to return to my solitude. 
Too long have I suffered from the cares and anxieties 
of the world, and now I mean to have done with it, 
once for all." 

Brother Aynard was completely dumbfounded at 
this speech, which of course was hailed with com- 
plaints and expostulations by all his attendants. He 


burst into tears, and threw himself at the feet of the 
Bishop, imploring him to change his mind. With much 
eloquence he demonstrated to him that the shepherd of 
souls must not thus abandon his flock ; then at last, 
seeing that his words had no effect, he embraced the 
knees of the prelate, crying out : " Ah, well, as long as a 
spark of life animates this old body of mine, I will 
never allow you thus to desert your post. Rather will 
I remain to die in this strange land, than bring about 
such a calamity. Let us each return to our ordinary 
duties ; and let us take care not to seek our own 
interests, by forgetting the interests of Jesus Christ." 
We can understand that this was exactly the resolution 
which the Bishop had desired to provoke by his inno- 
cent stratagem. They entered into an agreement by 
which Aynard promised not to leave Witham, and 
Hugh promised not to leave Lincoln. After which, 
each congratulating himself on having gained a great 
victory, they gaily re-entered the monastery. 

The story was worth telling as a specimen of the 
delightful tact which the Saint was master of, and with 
which he so often succeeded in leading back to the 
right path any Religious who were tempted to stray 
from it. Thanks to him, the good Brother Aynard had 
not this time to undergo the same severe penance which 
had attended his former act of wilfulness at the Grande 
Chartreuse. He died in peace, about the year 1204, 
being more than a hundred years old, and the Order 
still treasures the memory of his long services and his 
courage in well-doing. 1 

We see that the time spent by St. Hugh at Witham 
was not lost either for himself or for his brethren. 
Even for the interests of his diocese and those of the 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iv. ch. 13 ; Anna/. Ord. Cartus, vol. iii. p. 303. 
According to St. Hugh's biographer, Brother Aynard was one hundred 
and thirty years of age when he died. 


Universal Church, of which he was the vigilant 
defender, under the direction of the Sovereign Pontiff, 
it was surely not wasted. Certain censors among his 
contemporaries who had little sympathy with the con- 
templative life, were disposed to judge otherwise, and 
reproached the Bishop with giving too much time to 
these spiritual holidays, although they would not have 
had a word to say against him if he had spent long 
months at Court or in other visits of courtesy. But 
Hugh cared nothing for such reproaches, and continued 
to refresh his soul at regular intervals, and to draw 
new life and vigour from the springs that had nourished 
his earlier years. The most active saints followed the 
same method, and their example proves like his, that 
there is nothing which contributes so much as retire- 
ment and prayer to the formation of the character of 
an apostle. 



ONE year after the consecration of St. Hugh, on the 
2Qth of September, 1187, the city of Jerusalem, which 
had been for nearly a century the capital of a Christian 
kingdom, fell again into the hands of the Mahometans. 
When the news of this disaster reached Europe, the 
whole Catholic world was filled with consternation. 
Then the powerful voice of the Head of the Church 
was uplifted in the midst of the universal mourning, 
lamenting the fate of the Holy City, and calling upon 
all the faithful to take measures for its speedy deliver- 

Pope Gregory VIII., in a Bull worthy of the 
occasion and of his predecessors, after having described 
the disaster, exhorted all faithful Christians to make 
common cause to repair it. He declared that there 
was danger not only of the infidels taking possession 
of the rest of the kingdom of Jerusalem, but of their 
gathering their forces to march against other Christian 
nations. " It behoved all Christian Kings and people," 
he said, " to forget their divisions and private quarrels, 
and unite in hastening to the re-conquest of that blessed 
land, upon which the Eternal Truth manifested 
Himself for our salvation, and did not shrink from 
the Agony and Death of the Cross." The Sovereign 
Pontiff concluded by enumerating the privileges ac- 


corded to all who should take part in the new Crusade, 
foremost among which was a Plenary Indulgence, and 
by recommending the soldiers of Christ to look upon 
themselves as penitents making expiation for their sins, 
rather than as soldiers of the world, in quest of earthly 
glory." A general fast was also ordered, to appease the 
anger of God, and obtain the deliverance of Jerusalem. 

This appeal of the Holy Father was at once 
responded to, and on all sides preparations for the 
Third Crusade were commenced. The Bishops warmly 
seconded the command of their Chief Pastor, and 
many of the most eminent amongst them took the 
Cross themselves, to set an example to the rest of the 
faithful. The Bishop of Lincoln was not able to leave 
his diocese, which had been so long without a shepherd, 
but we are surely warranted in believing that he shared 
the general enthusiasm, and stimulated his flock to 
generous efforts in the cause. 1 

A rationalist historian, who is more disposed to 
argue against, than to exaggerate the advantages of 
the Crusades, thus describes the spectacle presented 
by the Church after the taking of Jerusalem by Saladin. 
" In one moment, the face of the whole Christian world 
was changed. Mourning over the loss of the tomb of 
Jesus Christ, men came to think a little more of the 
Gospel which He had come to preach and began to 
amend their lives. Vice was banished from the towns ; 
injuries were forgiven ; enemies were reconciled ; and 
abundant alms were given to the poor. Penitent 
Christians lay upon ashes, and covered themselves with 
hair-cloth, thus desiring to expiate their sins by fasting 
and mortification. The clergy were the first to set the 
example." 2 

1 Gervase says that St. Hugh himself took the Cross, (i. p. 410.) [Eo.] 

2 Michaud, Histoire des Croisades, vol. ii. bk. vii. p. 313. It is a 
striking thing to read how the news impressed good Abbot Samson at 


St. Hugh, no doubt, did all in his power to secure for 
his diocese the blessings of this time of conversion and 
salvation. If he had needed any other spur to stimu- 
late his zeal than devotion to the Holy See and to the 
flock committed to him, he had only to remember the 
traditions of his Order ; for St. Bruno had been 
the intimate friend and adviser of Pope Urban II. 
at the time of the First Crusade. Even in our own 
days, the Carthusians recite every night the beautiful 
Psalm Ixxviii. for the deliverance of the Holy Land. 1 

Pope Gregory VIII. died after a reign of less than 
two months; but his successor, Clement III., urged on 
the work, and William, Archbishop of Tyre, was 
specially commissioned to preach the Crusade in the 
West. In the discharge of this duty he succeeded in 
awakening a marvellous enthusiasm. At Gisors, King 
Philip Augustus of France and Henry II. of England 
took the Cross, after listening to his burning words, 
forgetting for the time their private differences, to join 
hands in the cause of Christ. At Mainz, in company 
with Cardinal Henry of Clairvaux, he pleaded the 
cause of the Holy Places with so much eloquence, that 
the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa descended from his 
throne, and then and there received from the hands of 

Bury St. Edmunds. "At the taking of Jerusalem by the pagans," says 
Carlyle, paraphrasing Brakelond, "Abbot Samson put on a cilice and 
hair-shirt, and wore under-garments of hair-cloth ever after. He abstained 
also from flesh and flesh meats (came et carneis] thenceforth to the end of 
his life." (Past and Present, bk. ii. ch. 15.) Brakelond does not quite say 
that Samson never eat meat again, but it is clear that this far-off English 
Abbot looked upon the loss of Jerusalem as a grievous personal sorrow, 
and as a manifestation of God's anger, for which it behoved all good 
Christians to make expiation by every means in their power. [ED.] 

1 According to Dom Le Couteulx, it was after the Council of Lateran, 
in 1215, that the Carthusian Order began the recitation of the prayers 
which are now said for the Holy Land. But we have reason for believing 
that similar prayers were in use by the Order from the time of the First 
Crusade. (See Annal. Ord. Cartus. vol. iii. p. 391.) 


the preacher the emblem which pledged him to fight 
against the infidel. Thus, the three greatest monarchs 
of Christendom were sworn to take part in the new 
Holy War, and there is little doubt that they sincerely 
desired to do all in their power for its success. 1 The 
King of England addressed a letter to the Christians of 
the East, promising them speedy help, and repeating 
with enthusiasm the words of the Prophet Isaias, the 
speedy fulfilment of which he predicted: "Lift up 
thine eyes round about, O Jerusalem, and see all these 
that are gathered together, to come to thee." 2 Alas! 
the demon of discord soon put a stop to all these 
promising preparations, and war broke out again 
between England and France. 

Richard, the son of King Henry II., joined with 
Philip Augustus against his father, imagining that the 
old King intended to leave the crown of England to 
his younger son John. Henry met with a succession 
of reverses, and was forced to sign the conditions of 
peace dictated by his enemies. As a final blow, he 
saw the name of his son John, at the head of a list of 
his own nobles who were in league against him. This 
broke his heart. He journeyed to Chinon, where he 
fell dangerously ill, cursing his rebellious children. 
" On the seventh day, all hope of his recovery vanished, 
and at his own request, he was carried into the church, 
and received, at the foot of the altar, the last consola- 
tions of religion. The moment he expired, the Bishops 
and Barons departed, while the other attendants 
stripped the corpse and carried off everything that was 
valuable upon which they could lay their hands. He 
was buried with little pomp in the choir of the Convent 

1 An extraordinary tax known as the Saladin tithe was imposed to 
defray the expenses of the Crusade. None were exempted from it but 
the Crusaders themselves, the Carthusians, the Cistercians, the nuns of 
Fontevrault, and the leper hospitals. 

2 Isaias xlix. 18. 


of Fontevrault, in the presence of his son Richard, 
and of a few knights and prelates." 1 It was the 6th of 
July, 1189. 

The Bishop of Lincoln does not appear to have been 
there, but we may be sure his fervent prayers were not 
wanting on behalf of his unhappy friend and King, 
who had almost invariably shown him the greatest 
confidence and affection. What could he think of this 
sad death ? Doubtless he recognized in it the finger 
of God, but without despairing of the salvation of a 
soul whose welfare he had always had at heart. 

No one can deny the fact and his own contem- 
poraries were deeply impressed by it that the Divine 
vengeance seemed to have set its seal on the last days 
of Henry II. Persecuted by his own children, the 
poor old King thus expiated his persecution of the holy 
Archbishop of Canterbury, his own spiritual father. 
That was the great crime of his life, and must always 
remain as a blot upon his memory. But while we 
cannot hope to whitewash the evil deeds of Henry, 
we must always remember how many proofs of repent- 
ance and of a wish to repair the past he gave in the 
course of his after life. From the time of his penitential 
pilgrimage to Canterbury, down to his last moments, 
which were sanctified by the sacraments of the Church, 
he had on many occasions, in spite of occasional 
relapses, acted and spoken in a manner worthy of a 
Christian prince. And his last resolution of setting 
out for the Holy Land, at his age a formidable under- 
taking, showed that his wish to make atonement for 
his Sins was not a mere pretence. 

During his life he had not neglected to make friends 
for himself to plead his cause with God. He gave 
abundant alms to the poor and to various religious 
communities ; and seven years before his death, about 

1 Lingard, History of England, vol. ii. p. 236. 


the time that St. Hugh became his constant adviser, 
he made a will which contained many pious and 
generous bequests. Thus he gave twenty thousand 
silver marks, to be divided into four equal portions, 
between the Knights Templars, the Knights Hospi- 
tallers, the different religious houses in Palestine, and 
for the defence of the Holy Land. He gave five 
thousand to religious houses in England, three thousand 
to those in Normandy, and two thousand to those of 
Anjou. As a dowry for poor maidens in England, so 
that they might be able to get respectably married, he 
left three hundred gold marks ; two hundred for the 
same object, in Normandy ; and a hundred for poor 
maidens of Anjou. Two thousand silver marks were 
to be divided among the nuns in Fontevrault, where 
he wished to be buried ; and ten thousand more 
were left to other convents and monasteries. 1 To 
the Carthusian Order he bequeathed a legacy of two 
thousand silver marks, not to speak of an annual sum 
of fifty marks which was to be paid to the same monks 
out of the royal exchequer. 2 

An historian of his own day says of Henry II., 
" I think, that if his death was miserable, it was 
because God wished to punish him severely in this life, 
and show mercy to him in the next." 3 There are good 
reasons, as we have already seen, for sharing this 
opinion, and for not passing more severe judgment 
upon Henry II., than upon his great contemporary, the 
Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who died about a year 
after the King of England. The Emperor had been a 
persecutor of Pope Alexander III., and he had done 

1 See Lingard, History of England, vol. ii. p. 239. Henry II.'s will 
seems to have made a considerable impression on his contemporaries, which 
is evidenced, for instance, by the fact that all its leading provisions appear 
in French verse in the rhyming chronicle of Pierre de Langtoft. [ED.J 

2 Annal. Ord. Cartus. vol. ii. p. 493, and vol. iii. p. 23. 

8 William of Newburgh, Hist, rerum. Anglic, bk. iii. ch. 16. 


as much to disturb the peace of the Church, as the 
persecutor of St. Thomas of Canterbury. Frederick set 
out for the Holy Land, in atonement for his sins, 
but before reaching Jerusalem, he was drowned while 
bathing in a river of Armenia, having time, before he 
breathed his last, to recommend his soul to God, and 
make an act of resignation to God's will that he should 
go no further. 

In those days, faith survived in the hearts even of 
those monarchs who were most intoxicated by their 
own greatness and power ; so that sooner or later, 
their conscience awoke, and they returned to the 
practice of religion and to the fulfilment of their 
neglected duties. It was much easier for them to 
listen to the voice of a still living faith, when they 
had the happiness of meeting with saints whose very 
appearance preached virtue and holiness more impres- 
sively than the most eloquent sermon. Frederick 
Barbarossa had this privilege, when he saw St. Peter 
of Tarentaise ; and Henry II. of England enjoyed a 
similar grace, not once but continuously, when he 
became the friend of St. Hugh of Lincoln. That was 
a title of honour which certainly must have pleaded in 
his favour before the tribunal of God ; nor must it be 
ignored or passed over by the tribunal of history. 


As an illustration of the impression which Henry II. 's 
character made upon the best informed chroniclers 
of a somewhat later date, I may quote the comments 
of Matthew Paris, upon that portion of the prophecy 
of Merlin, which was supposed to have reference to 
Henry, identified as the King " who overturned the 
walls of Ireland." *' His beginning," said the bard, 
" shall lie open to wandering affection, but his end 


shall carry him up to the Blessed above. For he shall 
restore the seats of Saints in their countries and settle 
pastors in convenient places. Two cities he shall 
invest with two palls and shall bestow virgin presents 
upon virgins. He shall merit by this the favour of the 
thunderer and shall be placed among the Saints." l 
Upon " restoring the seats of Saints," Matthew remarks: 
" It is to be observed that the said King, of whom there 
is here question, to wit Henry, first brought to this 
kingdom the Templars and Hospitallers, the White 
Monks [the Carthusians ?p and the nuns of Font 
Evraud, and he gave them virgin gifts, that is gifts 
new and unheard of which were never given by any 
other King before him." By " the seats of Saints," 
Matthew understands, " bishoprics, abbacies, and such 
like," and he goes on to tell us that Henry " newly 
established two archbishoprics in Ireland." 3 I am not 
of course concerned to defend either prophecy or 
interpretation ; I quote it only to show Matthew's 
attitude of mind towards Henry, whose history, he and 
other chroniclers seemed to consider to have accurately 
fulfilled all these predictions. 

With regard to Henry's unhappy relations with his 
sons, Giraldus tells us that the King, at some earlier 
period, had had an allegorical picture painted for him 
at Winchester, in which he bade the artist represent 
an eagle attacked by four of its young. He seems to 
have had a prophetic foreboding of the disloyalty of 
all of them, and attributed their revolt to the effects 
of a curse which had been laid upon their ancestor, 
the grandfather of his Queen Eleanor. This was 
William, Duke of Aquitaine, who seduced and carried 

1 I quote from the old translation of Aaron Thompson, p. 211. 

2 The term "White Monks " seems more usually to have been applied 
to the Premonstratensians or to the Cistercians. 

3 Matt. Paris, Chronica Majora. Edit. Luard, i. p. 208. 

-\>o :77/ OF KIXG HEXRY II 

off the i of his 1 I of 

Chatelhetaut. A devout hermit \vho came to him in 
God's na g| against this outrage ived 

with insult and contempt, whereupon the hermit told 
him solemnly that since he would not he. 
warning, neither he MM lineal descendants 

should ever know happiness in his children. It H 
worth while referring to the matter here 
Giraldus reports that the story was often told by 
Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, of blessed and holy 
mcir,o:\." who quoted as his authority no less a 
personage than King Henry 11. himself. [Eo.] 



1189 IJ 99- 



IN the beginning of the new King's reign, the Church 
might well ask herself whether she would find a per- 
secutor or a protector in the successor of Henry II. 
Richard possessed many brilliant qualities, but they 
were marred by grave defects. His courage was beyond 
cavil, and it was to be attested by many a deed of 
daring ; he had a great love for poetry and minstrelsy ; 
his inspirations were sometimes worthy of a true knight 
and a Christian King ; he could be princely in his 
benefactions, and was capable of generous impulses and 
genuine remorse. But with all this he had no command 
over the natural impetuosity of his character, and was 
often the prey of the most violent passions. One day he 
even drew his sword and threatened the Papal Legate, 
who had dared to take his father's part against him. 
It was well known, also, that he hesitated at no unjust 
and oppressive measures to secure the necessary funds 
for his warlike enterprises. Therefore there was much 
fear mixed with the hopes which greeted his accession 
to the throne, a fear which even the good impression 
made by his first acts could not entirely dispel. 

Richard began well by asking to receive public 
absolution for the crime of making war upon his father, 
and by sending his mother, Queen Eleanor, before him 
to England, with power to release all prisoners who 
were unjustly detained, and to pardon all political 


offences. On the 3rd of September, 1189, he was 
crowned at Westminster Abbey, by Baldwin, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, in the presence of the Bishops 
and Barons of England. He then took the triple oath, 
by which he engaged to do all in his power to secure 
peace to the Church and all Christian people, to defend 
the property of each one of his subjects against all 
unlawful claims or spoliation, and to unite mercy with 
justice in administering the laws. Before placing the 
crown on his head, the Archbishop solemnly adjured 
him not to take upon himself the royal dignity unless 
he was prepared faithfully to keep these sacred pro- 
mises. Therefore, it was not merely an empty form of 
words, but a solemn undertaking, by which the King 
assumed the principal obligations of his exalted posi- 
tion, in the sense in which they were understood by the 
Church, who is the guardian and avenger of the rights 
of her Christian children. Among the Bishops who 
were present at this imposing ceremony St. Hugh was 
to be seen, doubtless anticipating new struggles in the 
future, and determined always to act in the spirit of 
those words of his Lord : *' Render to Caesar the things 
that are Caesar's ; and to God, the things that are 

On the day after the coronation and unction of 
the new King, the Bishops and Barons of England 
assembled early in the morning to do homage to their 
Sovereign. They had, however, to wait a long time for 
the appearance of one prelate, and that was the Bishop 
of Lincoln. They sent to know the cause of this delay, 
and were told that the man of God had begun the day 
as usual by saying Mass, with his wonted deliberation 
and devotion, and had then duly set out for the palace ; 
but on his way thither he came upon the corpse of a 
man, lying unburied in the streets, who had been killed 
the day before in a tumult that had broken out against 


the Jews. Immediately, according to his usual custom, 
St. Hugh left everything else to perform the last offices 
of charity to the dead. He inquired if the dead man 
was a Christian, and receiving an answer in the affir- 
mative, sent to buy a large piece of stuff, in which he 
himself helped to wrap the body. The Bishop and his 
attendants then carried the dead man to the cemetery, 
dug a grave, performed all the last rites, and finally 
proceeded on their way to the palace. As it happened, 
Richard himself had kept the whole assembly waiting 
for hours, and St. Hugh was in time to be introduced 
into his presence with the rest of the Bishops. 1 

We do not know if this incident came to the ears 
of Richard I., or if he showed any annoyance at so 
strange a proceeding. But, at least, he might conclude 
from it that the Bishop of Lincoln, however faithful he 
might be to his King, would always put the service of 
Christ, his Lord and Master, in the first place. More- 
over, at this time Richard was in favourable dispositions 
for appreciating the sincerity of a man like St. Hugh. 
He was on the eve of setting out for the Holy Land, 
and it was surely an act of true faith and devotion, 
which mere love of adventure can hardly explain, thus 
to leave his country at the very beginning of his reign 
for the dangers and hardships of a Crusade, especially 
as there was a chance of never returning at all, or 
returning only to find his throne occupied oy a rival. 

Richard remained in England but four months after 
his coronation, and then set out for Normandy, there 
to concert arrangements with the King of France as to 
their joint departure for the Holy Land. In obtaining 
recruits for his army, he found a powerful auxiliary in 
Baldwin, Archbishop of Canterbury, who preached the 
Crusade with apostolic eloquence, first to the nobles 

1 Giraldus Cambrensis, Vita S. Hugonis, Dis. i. ch. vii. ; Vita Metrica, 
vv. 1006 1015. 


and gentlemen assembled at Northampton, and after- 
wards in most of the counties of England, and especially 
in Wales, where great enthusiasm was kindled. So 
ardent was the spirit of faith among the country people, 
that in some places whole villages were depopulated 
through their male inhabitants enlisting under the 
banner of the Cross, 'and the women had to hide the 
clothes of their husbands and sons, to prevent them 
from following the universal example. Even miracles 
were said to have been worked, evidencing the holiness 
of the cause and the zeal of the Archbishop. Amongst 
others, an old woman, who had been blind for three 
years, so Giraldus assures us, sent her son to obtain a 
small piece of the Archbishop's robe. As he was 
unable to penetrate the crowd which surrounded the 
prelate, the young man thought he would bring his 
mother a clod of earth upon which the Archbishop had 
been standing, and which retained the print of his foot. 
The old woman placed the clod of earth over her eyes, 
and her sight was instantly restored. 1 The labours of 
Baldwin were crowned by an heroic end. He went to 
the Holy Land shortly before King Richard I., dis- 
tinguished himself by conspicuous bravery before the 
walls of Acre, and died soon afterwards, a victim to his 
devotion, under the banner of the Cross which he had 
so valiantly jmfurled. 

It does not belong to our present history to relate 
how King Richard prolonged his preparations until the 
month of July, 1190, nor how he was still detained for 

1 These details are taken from the curious account of the preaching of 
Baldwin, embodied by Giraldus Cambrensis in his Itincrjrinm Cumbria;, 
pt. i. ch. xi. Cf. Michaud, Histoire des Croisades, vol. ii. ; Pieces 
Justificative^, n. 16. As Giraldus prefaces this story with the account of 
a small miracle worked by himself on the same occasion, his evidence 
must be received with a certain amount of caution. Giraldus was not a 
bad man, but he was not quite the sort of person whom one expects to 
find working miracles. [Eo.J 


a long time in the island of Sicily, where he had rather 
a fierce encounter with King Tancred. But there are 
two facts belonging to this period of his life which 
may be noticed here as throwing light upon the more 
religious side of Richard's character. One was the 
confirmation of the annuity bequeathed by his father 
to the Carthusians. 1 The deed of confirmation (which is 
dated Rouen, March i8th, 1190) shows that Richard, 
in the midst of his preparations for war, did not forget 
the power of prayer, and desired to obtain the blessing 
of Heaven upon his enterprise. It seems very probable 
that this kindly act of justice was prompted by con- 
sideration for St. Hugh, if not done directly at his 

The other fact which deserves mention was the 
public confession of Richard, during his stay in Sicily. 
It would seem that one day Divine grace penetrated 
the heart of the warrior- King, and that he saw for the 
first time all the enormity of the sins of his past life. 
With the impulsiveness which was part of his character, 
he gave orders to all the Bishops who were with him at 
Messina, to assemble in a chapel of the palace. He 
then presented himself humbly before them, and kneel- 
ing down, accused himself aloud, in the presence of all, 
of his many crimes and offences against God. The 
Bishops enjoined him a penance, and for a while at 
least there was a change in his conduct which showed 
that this conversion had not been a mere pretence. 2 

In the month of June, 1191, after having conquered 
the island of Cyprus on his way, Richard at last joined 
the King of France before the walls of Acre. The 
French King had been waiting for the arrival of his 
ally to begin a new and more vigorous assault upon 
the town, which had so long defied capture. The two 

1 Annul. Ord. Cartus. vol. iii. p. 93. 
2 Roger de Hoveclen, vol. iii. p. 74 ; Baronius, Annal. ad an. 1190. 


monarchs and their armies vied with each other in 
courage and determination, until the city at last sur- 
rendered, after a defence of nearly three years. During 
this time Acre had been the rallying-point alike for the 
troops of Saladin as for the multitude of champions of 
the Cross who had flocked thither from every country 
in Europe. More than a hundred skirmishes and 
nine pitched battles preceded the capitulation, and 
the conquest of Jerusalem would have then proved a 
comparatively easy task, if it had not been for the 
quarrels which arose between the two monarchs. Philip 
Augustus of France, who would not or could not 
co-operate amicably with Richard, left Palestine in 
haste, and returned to his own country. 

The English King, being now left in sole command, 
remained for more than a year in the Holy Land, 
multiplying feats of daring and showing an insensibility 
to personal danger which proved him worthy of the 
surname by which he is known in history. After 
having completely crushed the army of Saladin at the 
Battle of Arsur, fought on September yth, 1191, he 
wrote to the Abbot of Clairvaux that " for forty years 
the Sultan had never experienced a like disaster, and 
that he was now quite unable to meet the Christians in 
open field, but was obliged to lie in ambush, waiting 
for them to fall into his snares." 1 Later on, when 
the news came that the Mahometans had taken Jaffa, 
Richard hastened there with seven galleys, plunged 
into the surf to lead his troops to land, and forced the 
infidels to come out of the town and engage in combat 
with his small army. He fought in the centre of his 
knights with such fury and dauntless courage, that a 
brother of Saladin who was present could not contain 
his admiration, and in the midst of the battle sent him 
a gift of two splendid Arabian horses. A few days 
1 Rironius, Annul, ad an. 1191, nn. 17, 18. 


after this, Richard, at the head of a mere handful of 
brave followers, attacked seven thousand horsemen, 
rode straight up to their chief, and cut him down with 
a single sword-thrust, before the eyes of his panic- 
stricken army. 

These were the kind of exploits by which Richard 
of the Lion Heart acquired his great renown, not only 
in Europe and among Christian warriors, but also 
throughout the East. Half a century after his death, 
his name was still spoken by the Moslems with bated 
breath ; mothers used it to their naughty children when 
they wished to frighten them, and horsemen cried out 
to their steeds when they shied at some obstacle in 
the road : " Dost thou then see King Richard before 

But notwithstanding all this glory, the Third 
Crusade failed of the result for which it was organized. 
Jerusalem still remained in the hands of Saladin, who 
simply granted the Crusaders a truce for three years 
and free access to the Holy Sepulchre. It would be 
unjust to attribute this ill-success entirely to Richard ; 
but there is no doubt that he knew better how to 
conquer than how to profit by his victories. There 
was more in him of the knight-errant than the general, 
and his fiery temperament provoked the hostility of 
many who should have been his friends and allies. But 
in the end, one of these adversaries threw all Richard's 
misdeeds into the shade by a disgraceful attack upon 
the person of the King of England, which caused con- 
sternation and horror throughout the whole of Europe. 1 

King Richard left Palestine on the gth of October, 
1192, with these words of final farewell on his lips: 

1 The tendency of recent historical investigations has been rather to 
palliate and excuse the action of Leopold and Henry VI. A good 
summary of the question may be found in the work of Father K. A. 
Kneller, S.J., Des Richard Lbwenhcrz deutsche Gefangenschaft, Cf E. R. 
Kindt, Grunde der Gefangenschaft Richards 1, von ngland,[ED.] 


" Sacred Land ! I leave thee to the care of Him who 
is all-powerful : may He spare my life, so that I may 
return once more and deliver thee from the infidel 
yoke ! " He had the misfortune to be overtaken by a 
terrible storm, and to be ship\vrecked off the coast of 
Istria, between Aquilea and Venice. A short time 
afterwards, he fell into the hands of Duke Leopold 
of Austria, who had been his companion during the 
Crusade, and who was filled with bitter resentment for 
an insult which he conceived Richard had put on him. 
To satisfy his vengeance, the German Prince forgot the 
respect which was due to a brother-Sovereign, and also 
to the heroism of the bravest of the Crusaders. He 
even had the baseness to sell his royal captive for 
/~6o,ooo to the Emperor Henry VI., who kept him in 
chains like a common criminal. 1 

Richard bore his misfortunes nobly. Even in fetters 
he remained every inch a King, and when brought 
before the Diet of Haguenau, 2 he defended himself with 
such manly and touching eloquence, that the Emperor 

1 The first of these two statements is hardly accurate. Duke Leopold 
was not to be paid this sum of marks, or about ,60,000, for 
surrendering his prisoner to the Emperor, but it was stipulated in the 
agreement between them that the Emperor was not to release the King of 
England without the payment of a ransom of 100,000 marks, and that half 
of this was to be handed over to the Archduke. Moreover, a portion of 
this sum was to form the dower of a princess of Brittany, Richard's niece, 
who was to marry the Archduke's son. The agreement is printed in 
Kneller, Des Richard Lowenherz deutsche Gcfangenschaft, p. 123. Again, 
there seems to be some doubt as to the fact of Richard's having actually 
been kept in irons. Queen Eleanor, indeed, asserts it in one of her 
letters to the Pope - Filinm mciim . . . vincitlis alli^atum hnpcratori 
vendiditand the statement is found in many English chroniclers ; but 
there is contradictory evidence on the other side, both with regard to the 
Emperor and the Archduke, e.g. , Diceto (p. 106) : Qui licet pedes regis in 
compedibus non humilini'crit ; Coggfshall : Dux regcm strum Iwnorificc 
deduxit ; Chron. Mailros : (Imperator) reverentcr serv>irif cunt. See 
Kneller, op. cit. pp. 31 and 56. [Eo.] 

* This scene seems to have taken place at Speyer. 


relented, ordered his irons to be struck off, and con- 
sented to negotiate for his ransom. 

England had not been slow in manifesting her 
attachment for her unfortunate monarch. The Barons 
renewed their oath of allegiance ; the Bishops assembled 
at Oxford, and sent delegates to console and assist him. 
Queen Eleanor demanded and obtained from Pope 
Celestine III. a sentence of excommunication and inter- 
dict against the Duke of Austria. And the Emperor 
was threatened with a similar penalty if he did not set 
his illustrious prisoner at liberty. 

It required all these efforts, and more, to bring 
about the final deliverance of Richard. The ransom 
demanded was a hundred thousand marks, and as it 
was impossible for the English to collect this enormous 
sum at once, hostages were sent to guarantee its pay- 
ment in course of time. The King, who had been a 
prisoner for more than a year, was set free at last, to 
the great joy of all the generous hearts throughout 
Christendom, which had been indignant at his ini- 
quitous detention. His own faithful subjects received 
him rapturously when, on the i3th of March, 1194, he 
once more set foot upon his native land. Both his 
exploits and his sufferings served to surround him with 
a halo of glory which has never been wholly dispelled. 

Towards the end of the following year, the Duke of 
Austria had his foot crushed by a horse, and died of 
the after effects of this accident, which was regarded 
as the manifestation of the Divine displeasure. Before 
his death he obtained absolution from the Pontifical 
excommunication, but only on condition of his setting 
at liberty the hostages of the King of England, and 
restoring the unjust ransom he had extorted from his 
illustrious captive. 1 The Emperor of Germany also 

1 The restitution was apparently only intended to apply to that portion 
of the money already paid which still remained in his hands, yet nothing 


acknowledged his injustice on his death-bed, and 
ordered a similar restitution. Thus, under the influ- 
ence of Papal authority, right triumphed and reparation 
was made, so far at least as to satisfy the public con- 
science and give a not unprofitable lesson to the other 
crowned heads of Europe. 

of this seems ever to have been returned. On the other hand, there 
were 21,000 marks which had not yet been discharged by the English 
treasury. The hostages were the pledge for the payment of this sum, and 
when they were released there was of course no longer any question of 
handing over the money which their detention guaranteed. (See Kneller, 
p. 105.) Four years later, Innocent III., at the request of Richard, was 
still endeavouring to secure, from the heirs of the Emperor and of the 
Archduke, the restitution of the ransom which had been paid. (Innocent III. 
Kegesta, vol. i. pp. 203 206. Migne.) [Eo.] 



FROM the time of the departure of King Richard for 
Normandy, and afterwards for the Holy Land, until 
the end of his captivity, England was in an extremely 
unsettled state. In all the various disturbances which 
then took place, the Bishop of Lincoln seems to have 
exercised a beneficial influence, but in none was his 
independent fearlessness of , character more strikingly 
seen than in the popular riots against the Jews which 
marked the beginning of the reign. We do not, it is 
true, possess as much information as we might desire 
about these occurrences, but the main fact of St. Hugh's 
championship of this proscribed race stands out dis- 
tinctly enough. 

[It seems advisable, before going further, to say 
something about the position of the Jews in England, 
and especially in Lincoln, at the time when St. Hugh 
befriended them. Although the Jews formed numeri- 
cally a very small community, not probably amounting 
to more than about 2,500 souls that is, about i in 700 
of the whole population of the Kingdom, their relative 
wealth and political importance can hardly be exagger- 
ated. 2 One simple fact may serve to set in the strongest 

1 In the early part of this chapter the text of the French Life has not 
been strictly adhered to, and large additions have been made to it. [Eo.] 

2 Jacobs, The Jews of Angevin England, p. 382. The population of 
England at large probably lay between 1,500,000 and 2,500,000. M. Paul 
Fabre, in an article on Lt Denier de St. Pierre (Melanges G. B. de Rossi , 


light the extent to which the money of the country was 
in their hands. When Henry II., in 1188, exacted a 
tithe of movable property, he required the Jews to pay 
as their share, not a tenth, but a fourth of their chattels. 
Now, if we may trust the statement of Gervase of 
Canterbury, the Jews in England on this occasion were 
forced to pay "60,000, and the Christians only some 
jo,ooo. 1 In other words, the property in Jewish 
hands was rated at "240,000, and that in Christian 
hands at "700,000, and, justly or unjustly, the State 
was assuming so far as movable goods were concerned 
that the average possessions of two or three hundred 
Christians were only equivalent to the average posses- 
sions of a single Jew. 

The Jews were, in fact, the bankers of the country. 
At a time when specie was almost unattainable, they 
alone were able to find the hard cash, without which 
even in those days all great undertakings, whether it 
was a question of building a cathedral or levying 
a war, were equally brought to a standstill. By 
the Kings of England the Jews were encouraged 
and protected. William of Newburgh, a contem- 
porary author by no means extravagant in his anti- 
Jewish prejudices, says of Henry II., for instance: 
" He favoured more than was right a people 
treacherous and unfriendly to Christians, namely, 
Jewish usurers, because of the great advantages which 
he saw were to be had from their usuries ; so much 
so that they became proud and stiff-necked against 
Christians, and brought many exactions upon them." 5 
The curious state of the English law with regard to 

1892), inclines to the higher estimate, and Dr. Liebermann, in th 
Historical Review, while disagreeing with his reasoning, is inclined to 
accept the same figures. 

1 Rolls Series, i. p. 422. 

- William of Newburgh, Rolls Series, i. p. 280. 


the property of Jews must naturally have led English 
monarchs to treat with very tender consideration the 
geese which laid so many golden eggs. According to 
the best modern authorities, the Jews stood to the King 
in all matters of property precisely in the relation of 
the villein to his lord. 1 In strict law, what a Jew 
acquired he acquired, not for himself, but for his 
Sovereign, and although as a matter of favour and 
policy a Jew was not ordinarily molested in the enjoy- 
ment of his gains, it must have been pleasant for a 
juristically minded monarch like Henry II. to feel that 
these very wealthy subjects held their riches only upon 
sufferance, and that their money was almost as securely 
his, whenever he chose to apply pressure, as if it had 
been lodged already in the royal treasury. 2 It would 
seem as if the Jews were almost all traders or money- 
lenders. We meet but a few isolated instances of 
members of that community who are described as 
exercising the profession of physicians or scriveners. 
How far the charge of gross extortion so frequently 
made against them is justified it is not easy to say. 
A Jew in lending his money to a Christian most 
certainly exposed himself in these troublous times to 
no inconsiderable risk of not getting it back again. 
At the same time it is equally beyond question that 

1 Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, i. pp. 451, seq It 
followed from this doctrine that while in some sense the Jew was the slave 
of the King, in relation to all other men he was free, and the law upheld 
him against their oppression. 

2 This doctrine explains and extenuates what might at first sight seem 
the gross injustice committed when the King, for some reason or other, 
"seized into his hands" the debts due to one of his Jews by Christian 
debtors and perhaps, for a consideration, generously remitted the whole. 
An instance of this is to be found in the charter of Richard I. to the 
Cistercian Abbots of Rievaulx, New Minster, &c. , who owed 6,400 marks 
to Aaron the Jew, and obtained from the King a condonation of the whole 
in exchange for 1,000 marks. (Memorials of Fountains Abbey, Surtees 
Society, ii. p. 18.) 


the rate of interest exacted was enormous. Twopence 
a week per pound, i.e., forty-three per cent, per annum, 
was very common, even where good security was given, 
and we hear elsewhere of fourpence a week, i.e., eighty- 
six per cent. 1 The result was that nearly all the 
barons and knights and men of any little consideration 
who wanted to conduct a lawsuit or build a castle or go 
upon a Crusade, found themselves in less than no time 
head over ears in debt. It was probably the angry 
chafing of the upper classes against this sort of 
bondage, brought to a head by the imperative need 
of raising money for the Crusade, which had most to 
do with the outbreak against the Jews in the first year 
of Richard's reign. The populace, however, in a certain 
spirit of loyalty to the Faith which seemed to them to 
involve the hatred of the whole race of those who had 
put our Lord to death, a spirit heightened by the 
Crusading ardour of the time as well as by many 
gruesome stories of the murder of Christian children,- 
formed a ready instrument in the hands of any design- 
ing person who had sufficient fanaticism or malice to 
fan this smouldering hatred into a flame. 

In Lincoln, the Jewish community both for wealth 
and numbers was the most prosperous in England, with 
the single exception of London. To judge by what 
appears a very fair test the names of Jews entered 

1 Cf. Jacobs, Jews in Angevin England, p. 308, and Round, Ancient 
Charters, Pipe Roll Society, p. 82. 

2 Little St. William of Norwich (f 1144), the recently discovered narra- 
tive of whose martyrdom, as told by Thomas of Monmouth, has been 
published by Dr. Jessop and Mr. James, was the earliest in date of the long 
series of boy martyrs who were believed to have been sacrificed by the 
Jews. A tecond English example, also prior to the accession of King 
Richard, was that of little Robert of Hury-St.-Kdmunds in 1181. Another 
well-known instance is that of St. Richard of Pontoise in 1179, the cult us 
of whom we know on contemporary authority to have begun in Paris 
within a year of his death. For some remarks on these alleged martyrdoms, 
see note at the end of the chapter. 


in the Pipe Rolls we have as many as 82 heads of 
families from Lincoln, paying their contributions into 
the Treasury, as compared with no in London; while 
the town which stands next highest on the list is 
Norwich, with only 42. 1 Jewish traditions, in fact, are 
still strong in Lincoln. The Jewish quarter, known as 
the Dernestall, was on the southern slope of the hill 
crowned by the Cathedral, and close under the Castle 
and the Bishop's palace. The narrow passage by 
which this Jewry opened upon the High Street still 
exists. It is called the " Strait," and at the mouth of 
the Strait stood the Dernestall Lock, where in old times 
a gate was locked at night, 2 to confine the detested 
Jews within their own narrow limits. Hereabouts it 
was that, fifty years after the death of Bishop St. Hugh, 
a little namesake of his was found murdered martyred, 
as it was believed, in hatred of Christianity. 

O yonge Hugh of Lincoln slayn also 

With cursed Jewes, as it is notable, 

For it nis but a litel whyle ago, 

Pray eek for us, we sinful folk unstable 

That of his mercy God so merciable 

On us his grete mercy multiplye 

For reverence of his moder Marye. Amen. 3 

The bones of little St. Hugh still lie in the south 
aisle of the Cathedral, and when they were discovered 
and examined at the end of the last century, the 
Protestant antiquaries, who published a report of the 
discovery, thought that on one of the metatarsal bones 
of the feet could be detected the traces of the nails 
with which he was crucified. 4 Two of the houses are 
still standing which were occupied by Jews when 
our Bishop Hugh first came to be enthroned in his 

1 Jacobs, The Jews in Angevin England, p. 382. 
2 Variables, Walks through the Streets of Lincoln, p. 28. 

3 Chaucer, The Prioress Tale. 
4 See Gough, Sepulchral Monuments, vol. ii. p. Ixviii. 



Cathedral. They are amongst the oldest specimens 
of domestic architecture in England, and one of them 
was the dwelling of the most famous Jew of that age, 
the great Aaron of Lincoln. His financial operations 
were on a gigantic scale. Even the proud Abbey of 
St. Albans, like many another religious house, was so 
deeply in his debt that Aaron came there one day and 
roughly told the monks that the very shrines of their 
saints had been built by him, and that he could sell 
them up if he pleased. He died about twelve months 
after St. Hugh was consecrated to his episcopal see ; 
but we are told of Aaron's son, who inherited in great 
part his father's wealth, that he was free to come and 
go in the Gilbertine Priory of Bullington, just as if it 
belonged to him which indeed it almost did. 1 ] 

The outbreak against the Jews began in London, 
only a few hours after the coronation of King Richard, 
who had forbidden them to appear in his presence on 
that day. Several individuals amongst them, in defi- 
ance, or more probably in ignorance, of this prohibition, 
made their way into the palace.' 2 They were recognized 
by the crowd, who drove them out, pursued them, and 
slaughtered them without mercy. A false report was 
spread that the King had authorized these murders, 
whereupon a massacre began which continued until the 

1 Archaeological Journal, vol. xxxviii. p. 188. The same Elias, the son 
of " Aaron the rich," in 1208 paid 200 marks into the Treasury to have 
license to secure payment on 400 charters drawn up by his father in his 
lifetime, and a further sum of 200 marks to obtain possession of 40 other 
charters. Even though we multiply these sums by 30 or 40, as we should 
have to do to obtain any idea of their equivalent value at the present day, 
we should still be far from realizing the influence implied by this, in those 
days, extraordinary command of ready money. 

3 This prohibition seems to have had its origin in the fear cf some 
magic spell which the Jews might cast upon the newly-crowned King. 
This is suggested by Matthew Paris, and the language of Ephraim ben 
Jacob of Bonn, a Jewish chronicler who gives a brief account of the 
massacre, points to the same conclusion. 


streets of London ran with blood, and which was only 
put a stop to at last by the officers of the Crown. The 
houses of many Jews were burnt, and the riot was not 
suppressed until the next morning. Richard hastened 
to issue a proclamation, in which he took the Jews 
under his protection, and forbade all violence against 
their persons or possessions. But a few months later, 
when he was safe out of the kingdom, other similar 
disturbances took place in different parts of the country, 
culminating in a very deplorable outrage at York. It 
is sad to find that in several cases the riots seem to 
have been instigated by those who were about to take 
part in the Crusade. Most assuredly the cause of the 
Master whom they professed to serve was not to be 
furthered by such brutal deeds as these. Far from 
approving or tolerating these outbreaks of popular 
hatred, the Church, speaking by the voice of her 
Sovereign Pontiffs and her most illustrious prelates, 
had always extended some measure of protection to 
the Jews. It is true that she had taken many pre- 
cautions which to us may seem excessive against their 
obtaining undue influence. She had closed the door 
of public offices and appointments against them, as 
much as possible ; but while thus endeavouring to 
prevent them from doing harm to her own children, 
she severely condemned the outrages attempted by the 
rapacious or the fanatical against their lives and pro- 
perty. The children of Israel themselves have praised 
the toleration extended to them, and they have more 
than once expressed in earnest terms their gratitude 
to various Popes or to individual members of the 

At the time of the two first Crusades, the Church 
had already had occasion to reprove the blind excesses 
of the populace, who at the instigation of a few fana- 
tical ringleaders, had singled out the Jews for attack. 


" What then ! " exclaimed St. Bernard, in reproof of 
one of these firebrands ; " does not the Church triumph 
far more effectively over the Jews, by gentle persuasion 
and the force of truth, than by the sword of perse- 
cution ? Is it in vain that she calls upon the Lord our 
God, by incessant prayer, to take away the veil from 
their eyes, and show them the light of His faith ? 
There would be no meaning in the prayers of the 
Church if she were to despair of the ultimate con- 
version of the unbelievers for whom she prays. She 
continues her prayers in hope, trusting in the mercy of 
Him who returns good for evil, and love for hatred. 
What says Holy Scripture? ' Slay them not.' 1 And 
again : ' And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is 
written : There shall come out of Sion He that shall 
deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.' " 

The letter in which the great Abbot of Clairvaux 
thus expresses the mind of the Church towards the 
people of Israel, was addressed to Henry, Archbishop 
of Mainz, who had distinguished himself by his brave 
defence of the proscribed outcasts. He received many 
of them into his house, and used every effort in his 
power to save them from death. 

When troubles of the same kind arose in England, 
similar generosity and charity were displayed. St. Hugh 
of Lincoln needed no one to remind him what his duty 
was in such circumstances, and no power on earth 
could prevent him from following the course which he 
believed to be right. 

It was at Stamford, on the 5th of March, 1190, that 
the attacks on the Jews began, in his diocese. A fair 
was being held in the town, and great crowds of people 
had assembled. A number of young Crusaders who 

1 Romans xi. 26. 

a History of St. Bernard, letter v. ch. iii. By Pcre Ratisbonne ; 
St. Bernard, Epistol. 365. 


were about to sail for Palestine had gathered there 
from different parts of the country. "They were 
indignant," says the chronicler, " that the enemies of 
the Cross of Christ should possess so much, when they 
had not enough for the expenses of their journey." 1 
Accordingly, in the midst of the crowd and confusion 
of the fair, these young men flung themselves upon the 
Jewish quarter, killed many of the inhabitants, and 
plundered their houses, getting away safely with their 
booty. The news of these riotous proceedings was 
soon carried to Lincoln ; the whole city was greatly 
agitated, and a conspiracy was formed to follow the 
example already given by Stamford. The mob 
assembled, and the rising took place ; but, fortunately, 
little harm was done. The Jews were warned in time, 
and most of them took refuge, with their treasures, in 
the royal castle. There seems reason to believe that 
to the Bishop of Lincoln belongs the chief credit of 
putting a stop to this state of excitement, which might 
have resulted, as it did later on at York, in the siege 
of the citadel, and in a terrible amount of bloodshed. 2 

We will here give an account of what took place, 
in the words of the chaplain and biographer of the 
Saint: 3 "Let us now speak of his courage, when the 

1 William of Newburgh, vol. i. p. 310. 

2 See William of Newburgh, Hist. Rer. Anglic, vol. i. pp. 310 
322. That the Lincoln Jews did not entirely escape in the outbreak 
directed against them, seems to be clear from the fact that a list of 
eighty names of Lincoln burghers is to be found in the Pipe Rolls of 
3 Rich. I., who were to be amerced for the disturbances. Further 
reference is made to these amerciaments in 6 Rich. I. (See Archaeological 
Review, vol. ii. pp. 406, seq. nn. 117 and 142.) Moreover, William of 
Newburgh distinctly states ' ' that much investigation was carried on by 
the royal officials" a mark of exceptional zeal for justice, in which we 
may perhaps trace the hand of St. Hugh. [Eo.] 

3 The author of the French Life is proceeding here upon the assump- 
tion that the description of St. Hugh's intrepid bearing quoted above from 
the Magna Vita, most probably refers to the time of the popular outbreak 
against the Jews. It should be noticed that St. Hugh's chaplain does not 


lawlessness of proud subjects had to be put down, and 
of the daring bravery with which he threw himself, 
unarmed, into the midst of a furious crowd of mail-clad 
warriors. In his own Cathedral of Lincoln, first of all, 
then in the district of Holland, and afterwards at 
Northampton, he stood, bare-headed and undaunted, 
in the midst of a forest of swords brandished by angry 
men. And even this is less than the truth. He did 
not merely stand proudly erect, but striding hither and 
thither amongst them, his fiery words flashed out in 
entire recklessness of the consequences, for he wielded 

anywhere state this. He only says that the Bishop's intrepidity in the face 
of a hostile mob was manifested especially on three occasions : first at 
Lincoln, in the Cathedral, and afterwards in Holland (a district of Lincoln- 
shire), and at Northampton ; and he adds rather provokingly that he could 
say a good deal about the causes of these riots, but that the story might 
prove tedious. The Jews are not mentioned in this chapter, and the only 
allusion made to them in the Magna Vita is a reference to the grief which 
they displayed at St. Hugh's death. None the less, I think that our 
author is right in believing that these three signal instances of the Saint's 
personal courage were probably all connected in some way with his 
championship of the persecuted Jews. We know from William of 
Newburgh that notable outbreaks took place at Stamford, at Lincoln, 
and at Northampton ; and Stamford, while it is not situated in the 
district now called Holland, is close upon the outskirts of that rather 
vaguely defined tract of country. Moreover, William of Newburgh 
expressly tells us that it was St. Hugh who put a stop to the cultus of 
the pretended martyr at Northampton, and this was obviously an act 
which, at such a time of fanatical excitement, was bound to provoke 
resentment on the part of those interested in exploiting anti-Jewish pre- 
judice. Lastly, I think we may find an explanation of the reticence of 
St. Hugh's chaplain, and of his reluctance to exhibit his hero as a protector 
of the Jews, in the fact that just about the time that the Magna Vita was 
given to the world a reaction was setting in against the favour shown to 
them during the minority of Henry III. "Stephen Langton, Archbishop 
of Canterbury, in conjunction with Hugh de Wells, Bishop of Lincoln, 
published a general prohibition by which all persons were forbidden to 
buy anything of the Jews, or to sell them victuals or necessaries, or to have 
any communication with them, declaring that they were persons who by 
the laws of the Church were excommunicated for their infidelity and 
usury." (Margoliouth, History of the Jews in Great Britain, vol. i. p. 138.) 


the sword of spiritual censures against these furious 
plotters, and delivered the contumacious among them 
over to Satan, * for the destruction of the flesh, that the 
spirit might be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus 
Christ.' 1 His courage was all the more admirable, 
because many of his attendants, who were sufficiently 
brave at other times, gave way to terror. They were 
not content with flying to the altars for protection, but 
they hardly thought themselves safe when they were 
actually hiding under the table of the Lord itself. 2 
Hugh remained alone, and continued to lash with his 
indignant words the ruffians who had drawn their 
swords upon him. Thanks to this determined courage, 
to the protection of the holy angels, and to the Divine 
armour which clothed him, the rioters gave way, cowed 
and irresolute. At Lincoln it was a mob of clerics 
and laymen, in Holland a band of armed knights, at 
Northampton the angry townsfolk ; but all alike yielded, 
violent and furious as they were, before the calm 
intrepidity of this one pastor of souls." " Even at the 
risk of his life," adds the biographer a little later, " this 
disciple of the Good Shepherd would not allow his 
flock to stray from the right path without lifting up his 
voice to recall them." 3 

We may be inclined to wonder why the Cathedral 
of Lincoln should have become the scene of such a 
tumult. It is probable that the Jews had deposited 
there, as in the safest place they knew of, the deeds 
connected with their loans and mortgages. This is 

1 i Cor. v. 5. 

2 This passage is interesting for its bearing upon the disputed question 
of the shape of English mediaeval altars. It is quite clear that the altars of 
Lincoln Cathedral in the twelfth century cannot all have been solid blocks 
of masonry. Some of them must have been table- shaped tisch-formigen, 
to enable the attendants of St. Hugh to creep in under the altar-slab. (See 
The Month, February and March, 1897.) [^ D> ] 

3 Magna Vita, bk, iv. ch. 4. 


what they had clone in the case of York Minster, but 
there the guardians of the Cathedral were compelled by 
the mob to give up all these papers, and allow a huge 
bonfire to be made of them in the very nave of the 
church itself. 1 If the rioters had the intention of doing 
the same at Lincoln, the intervention and the attitude 
of St. Hugh are sufficiently explained. 2 

At Holland, which is a district in the county of 
Lincoln, it was a band of knights and squires milites 
et armigeri who troubled the public peace ; 3 and there 
St. Hugh was not without a valiant protector, for his 
cousin, William of Avalon, a brave and honourable 
gentleman, was in his company, and observing that 
one furious rioter was aiming a blow at the Bishop, 
he wrested the sword from his hand, and was about 

1 " But when the slaughter was over, the conspirators immediately went 
to the Cathedral and caused the terrified guardians, with violent threats, to 
hand over the records of the debts placed there, by which the Christians 
were oppressed by the royal Jewish usurers, and thereupon destroyed these 
records of profane avarice in the middle of the church with the sacred fires, 
to release both themselves and many others. Which being done, those of 
the conspirators who had taken the Cross went on their proposed journey 
before any inquest, but the rest remained in the country for fear of an 
inquiry." (William of Newburgh, i. p. 322.) This story indicates very 
clearly how largely the outbreak against the Jews was due to the desire 
of the nobles and knights who owed them money to shake themselves 
free from this encumbrance and to destroy the record of their debts. [ED.] 

2 This suggestion seems the more probable from the fact that in the 
reign of John we find a mandate in the Close Rolls, addressed to 
St. Hugh's successor, William of Blois, and ordering him not to permit 
the property of the Jews to be deposited in the Cathedral (Feb. 28, 1205). 
(See Jacobs, Jews in Angevin England, p. 237.) [Eo.] 

3 I must own that there is much to suggest that this disturbance in 
Holland should be identified not with an anti-Jewish riot, but with the 
violent dispute between the Monasteries of Croyland and Spalding 
(Hollandenses), of which such an interesting account is preserved in the 
Historia Croylandensis. The prominence of the knights in this riot is 
especially noted (Gale, pp. 453, 454). We can well believe that in such an 
unseemly feud between two religious houses, St. Hugh would have inter- 
posed in the cause of peace, but there is no mention of any interference 
on his pan in the Croyland Chronicle. [Eo.] 


to execute summary vengeance when Hugh interceded 
for his would-be murderer. He had no wish to see any 
blood shed in his defence, and contented himself with 
making use of the spiritual sword of the censures of the 
Church. St. Hugh, however, considered these canonical 
weapons to be more than a match for any physical 
violence. His voice, so his chaplain tells us, in threaten- 
ing such penalties was simply awe-inspiring, and he 
expatiated with supreme contempt upon the powerless- 
ness of sword or coat of mail to stand against the 
spiritual blows with which he who spoke in the name 
of the Church could smite body and soul, alike in this 
world and the world to come. 

The riot at Northampton, which occurred a short 
time after the two we have been speaking of, was 
also connected with the Jews. With regard to this, 
more precise details have happily come down to us. 
Immediately after the disturbance at Stamford, one of 
the rioters named John, who had gathered an immense 
amount of plunder from the houses of the Jews, made 
off to Northampton with his booty. Being as reckless 
as he was unprincipled, the young man there entrusted 
part of his money to another scoundrel who, tempted 
by the sight of the gold, killed him secretly to obtain 
possession of the whole of it, and threw his body 
outside the walls of the town during the night. In 
the morning the corpse was discovered and recognized, 
but the murderer had taken flight, and was not even 
suspected. Naturally the imagination of the populace, 
being very much excited by the crime, immediately 
attributed it to the Jews, and the dead man soon came 
to be considered as a martyr who had fallen a victim to 
the hate of this detested race. His tomb became a 
place of pilgrimage, and was frequented by many 
mistaken devotees. Several miracles were reported to 
have taken place, and votive offerings were showered 


upon the sepulchre of this worthless incendiary, who 
had met the just reward of his crimes. The inhabitants 
of the town, deriving great pecuniary benefits from the 
new place of pilgrimage, were deaf to all representa- 
tions and remonstrances. In the end, however, the 
affair came to the ears of the Bishop of Lincoln, and 
he was not long in arriving at a decision. He set 
out at once for Northampton, to put a stop to the 
scandal. There he met with lively resistance from 
the disappointed townspeople, but it was only another 
occasion for the display of his usual courage. He 
went straight to the tomb of the pretended martyr, 
tore down the votive offerings which adorned it, and 
forbade, under pain of excommunication, that any 
further cultus should henceforth be rendered to one so 
utterly unworthy of it. His words were listened to 
and obeyed ; the superstition died out, to the con- 
solation of right thinking men and to the relief of the 
unhappy Jews, who were certain of having to suffer 
sooner or later in the cause of the pretended martyr. 
It was, no doubt, the remembrance of this, and other 
instances of St. Hugh's impartial justice, which led the 
sons of Israel to give public testimony of their sorrow 
at the funeral of this blessed Saint. Certainly he had 
no desire of ingratiating himself with them, or of 
excusing their real misdeeds. He simply obeyed the 
voice of conscience in thus repressing popular violence, 
and the traditions of the Church, which has always 
been careful to protect the lives of the Jews, while 
resisting their real or fancied efforts at proselytism, 
must have influenced him strongly on the same side. 
Troubles of another kind exposed St. Hugh to less 
danger, but caused him still greater anxiety. Instead 
of seeing his path clearly marked out for him, he had 
to steer his way as well as he could through the count- 
less political intrigues in which this reign was so 


prolific. We cannot doubt that he must have gone 
through many of those hours of mental suffering in 
which it is far more difficult to see where duty lies than 
to carry it into execution. 

A short time after it had served as a refuge for the 
Jews, the strong Castle of Lincoln was besieged by 
the troops of William of Longchamp, Bishop of Ely 
and Chancellor of the realm, 1 whom King Richard had 
invested with the fullest powers to govern England 
during his absence on the Crusade. The Governor of 
the fortress, Gerard of Camville, had refused to give up 
the keys to the Chancellor, and appealed for protection 
to Prince John, the King's brother. This was the 
signal for a final rupture between the two persons of 
highest rank and position in the country. But nothing 
can be more intricate or obscure than the different 
accounts of these political factions. After reading the 
various historians who have treated of this subject, it 
is impossible to form any certain judgment upon the 
conduct of the Chancellor. If he had the greater 
number of the Bishops and Barons of England arrayed 
against him, he was not without some illustrious 
supporters. Peter of Blois warmly took his part, and 
when the dispute was referred to Rome, the cause of 
the Bishop of Ely found favour in the eyes of Pope 
Celestine III., who had previously re-appointed him 
Legate of the Holy See. 2 Notwithstanding this, the 
Chancellor was driven out of the kingdom by Prince 
John, as the result of an assembly of nobles and 
prelates which he had succeeded in gathering together. 
The Bishop of Lincoln was present at this assembly, 

1 The Chancellor seems to have made two attempts upon Lincoln 
Castle, one in the spring, the other after midsummer, 1191. (See Stubbs 1 
note to Hoveden, vol. iii. p. 135.) [ED.] 

2 There is no evidence of such re-appointment, except the fact that in 
the letter of December and to the English Bishops, Celestine describes 
him as Legate. (See Stubbs, Epp. Cantuar. p. cxxxiii. note.) [ED.] 


but his attitude was so upright and impartial, that the 
Chancellor always preserved a great confidence in him. 
This was very clearly shown when Pope Celestine III., 
on the 2nd of December, 1191, wrote a letter to the 
Bishops of England, commanding them to pronounce 
sentence of excommunication against the persecutors 
of his Legate. The Chancellor then addressed himself 
to St. Hugh, to make sure of the Pope's instructions 
being carried out with firmness and discretion. 

In the letter he then wrote, William of Longchamp 
compliments the holy Bishop on his reputation for 
courage, and goes on to say that " he leaves the care of 
the interests of the Church of God, and those of our 
lord the King," with great confidence in his hands. 
He adds that he has no doubt that " his charity will 
devote itself, with the single-mindedness worthy of a 
true Bishop, to carry out the instructions issued by the 
Holy See and the Legate its representative." 

The Chancellor wrote to other Bishops to secure the 
same result, but St. Hugh and all the rest seem to have 
thought that no action could then be taken. The 
Saint's tardiness, however, and the caution he showed 
at this critical period, were far from bringing him into 
disgrace at Rome. On the contrary, the Holy See took 
the first opportunity, as we shall see later on, of giving 
proof of the great confidence which Hugh's conduct 
had inspired. 

The Sovereign Pontiff at that time had a project 
in hand which St. Hugh was just the sort of man 
to sympathize with. He wished to establish peace 
between all Christian nations, that they might con- 
centrate their energies upon the overthrow of Islam. 
When he heard that King Richard had set out for the 
Holy Land, he wrote an urgent letter to the Bishops of 
England, recommending them to preach concord, and 
to direct against the enemies of the Faith in the East 


that warlike ardour which was so dangerous to the 
tranquillity of Church and State at home, or, at best, 
was so unprofitably squandered upon jousts and tour- 
naments. Unfortunately, it was a hopeless task to try 
to make men superior to the miserable interests of 
party, in order to enlist their energies in a cause so 
exalted as that of the union of Christendom against the 
common foe. 

In the meantime, at the news of the captivity of 
Richard, the internal dissensions of parties in England 
assumed a new phase. While John began to lift the 
mask, and was no longer ashamed to seek the assist- 
ance of Philip Augustus in usurping his brother's 
throne, those who had hitherto rallied to his side as 
the cause of law and order^ now withdrew their support 
and became his avowed and active opponents. The 
release of Cceur de Leon, which took place shortly 
afterwards, put an end to these disturbances ; but for 
the Bishop of Lincoln the return of the King was only 
the beginning of fresh trials. 


The alleged martyrdom by the Jews of such 
Christian children as little Hugh of Lincoln, William 
of Norwich, Robert of Bury, &c., to which reference 
has been made in the course of this chapter, remains 
a problem still despite the many attempts to unravel 
it which have been made of late years. 1 It may 

1 Cf. Thomas of Monmouth, The Life and Miracles of St. William of 
Norwich, edited by Jessop and James ; Little St. Hugh of Lincoln, by 
Joseph Jacobs, reprinted from the Jewish Chronicle; El Santo Nino, 
by Father Fita, S.J., in the Boletin de la Real Academia de la Historia, 
vol. xi. (1887) ; articles in the Revue des Etudes Juives, e.g. by J. Loeb, 
vol. xv. ; H. C. Lea, Chapters from the Religious History of Spain, p. 437 ; 
Strack, Der Blutaberglaube ; Baring Gould, Beliefs of the Middle Ages; 
and many more. 


readily be admitted that no satisfactory evidence has 
yet been produced to show that such sacrifices form 
any part of Jewish ritual. Judaism as a system can 
certainly not be held responsible for these outrages. 
None the less, it is very difficult to waive away the 
evidence of some Jewish complicity in such murders 
by declaring them all to be the fabrication of popular 
prejudice. The children were certainly murdered by 
somebody, legal investigations were held, testimony was 
given by Jews themselves, sometimes apparently with- 
out threat of torture. Many writers who are evidently 
free from any suspicion of anti-semitic prejudice, own 
themselves staggered by the perplexities of the problem. 
'* Personally," says a reviewer of Messrs. James and 
Jessop's volume on St. William of Norwich, " we have 
no faith in these stories, but if any one should ask 
how it is possible for educated men of the present 
age to believe them, we may refer him to an article 
in the Civilta Cattolica for February, 1893, entitled 
La Morale Giudaica e il Mistero del Sangue, which un- 
doubtedly demonstrates that such stories, whatever 
we think of them, are not always malicious lies nor 
even the rumours of ignorance and superstition, but 
sometimes rest upon evidence not intrinsically beneath 
contempt." (The Academy, February 27th, 1897). Again, 
Dr. Jessop and Mr. James themselves, while rejecting 
the story of a deliberate ritual sacrifice, think it possible 
that the boy (St. William) may have been done to death 
by a reckless or fanatic Jew. As a reviewer of the 
same work in the Athcnxum remarks : " One point might 
fairly be made ; the Church was not to blame, nor was 
the persecution religious." (April 3oth, 1897.) I am 
inclined myself to adopt a suggestion made in the 
same review in the Academy, from which I have just 
been quoting, to the effect that the use of human 
blood taken from some innocent victim, really did 


enter into the magic spells of the professors of the 
black art. 1 Sorcery was practised amongst the Jews as 
it was practised among Christians, and if Christian 
writers can be trusted, a great deal more so. It is quite 
possible that some individual Jewish sorcerers may at 
all periods have combined this very evil magic with 
their religious beliefs. " Since the practice of sorcery 
was a fact," says the reviewer in the Academy, "it may 
well be that some cases of c ritual murder ' upon the 
part of the Jews mingling magic with their Judaism 
did positively happen." 

It may be noted that the Holy See has never 
formally canonized any of these alleged victims of 
Jewish malignity, 2 and neither little St. Hugh nor any 
of the other children mentioned above, are even com- 
memorated in the Mavtyvologiuni Romanum. On the other 
hand, many letters have been issued by various Popes 
to check the cruelty with which the Jews were perse- 
cuted. These instructions provided that the Jews were 
not to be forced to receive Baptism against their will, 
that they were not to be molested in person or property 
without the judgment of a court of law, and that their 
cemeteries should not be violated. See Jaffe-Lowenfeld, 
Regesta Pontificum, especially nn. 13973 and 16577, and 
Potthast, n. 834. 

Our Carthusian author seems to have exercised a 
wise discretion in dismissing very summarily the 
intricate political complications which centre round 
the career of the Chancellor, William Longchamp. 
Even after all the patient investigation which has been 

1 This belief is as old as the time of St. John Chrysostom, who more than 
once refers to the magicians who are said to decoy children to their houses and 
cut their throats : 'dtrav iroAAol rwv yoijTuv TraiSas \aft6vrzs a.Tro<r<f>d.TT(t)(Tiv. 
(In Matt. Horn. 28. Migne, P. G. vol. 57, p. 353. Cf. Horn. II. de Lazaro. 
Migne, P.O. vol. 48, p. 983.) 

2 Benedict XIV. De Beatif. &c., bk. i. c. 14, n. 5, and bk. iii. c. 15, 
nn. 27. 


devoted to the subject by Sir Francis Palgrave and 
Bishop Stubbs, there are many points in the disturbed 
politics of the years 1190 1194 which are still very 
obscure. The Bishop of Lincoln's relations with the 
Chancellor were in no way intimate, and a detailed 
account of the latter's proceedings is not required to 
illustrate the history of our Saint. On the whole it 
would seem that Hugh did his best to avoid active 
participation in the disputes between the Chancellor 
and Prince John. It is noteworthy that in the final 
agreement which followed the siege of Lincoln Castle 
we do not find the Bishop of Lincoln's name among the 
witnesses. He was present at the general assembly 
summoned to meet near Reading, which ended in the 
deposition of Longchamp, but the very manner in 
which Giraldus refers to his presence there, insinuates 
that St. Hugh had not uniformly been acting with them 
and that the party of Prince John were very pleased to 
have his support. 1 We may be quite sure that St. Hugh 
would have been reluctant to connect himself in any 
way with the malignant libel against the Chancellor, 
which was shortly afterwards published by Hugh de 
Nonant, 2 and the fact that Longchamp appealed to 
Hugh to execute the Papal Bull, which was practically 
the condemnation of the Reading assembly, shows the 
high idea which he had of the Saint's impartiality and 
singleness of purpose. It is satisfactory to find that 
Bishop Stubbs strongly insists upon the unfounded 
character of the grosser charges brought by Giraldus 
and Hugh de Nonant against Longchamp. " It is," he 
says, u simply impossible that such a man as Giraldus 
describes, should have been tolerated in an age and 

1 Giraldus, Vita Galfridi ; Opera, vol. iv. p. 397. Hugh went on to 
London, and was one of the Bishops who interviewed Longchamp in the 
Tower. He had also previously excommunicated the Chancellor and his 
abettors for his treatment of Archbishop Geoffrey. (Ibid. p. 405. ) 

a Hoveden, iii. pp. 141, seq. 


country in which St. Hugh of Lincoln was religiously 
all-powerful. St. Hugh does not seem to have liked 
the Chancellor's policy ; their political principles were 
opposed, and the Saint took part in the proceedings 
against Longchamp in defence of Archbishop Geoffrey, 
but their personal relations were not unkind, and the 
Chancellor seems to have trusted implicitly in the 
Bishop's good-will. The man who would not tolerate 
the bones of Fair Rosamond within the choir of 
Godstow, would not have hesitated to denounce a 
profligate in the sacred offices of legate and bishop." 1 


1 Stubbs, Preface to Hoveden, vol. iii. p. xlii. 



THE great anxiety of King Richard, on his return to 
England, was to obtain large sums of money, in order 
to pay what remained to be paid of his ransom, and 
also to defray the cost of a war against the King of 
France. He knew that his kingdom had already 
suffered much from the enormous demands that had 
been made on the public purse, both before the Crusade 
and during his captivity. But he reckoned upon the 
popularity he had acquired by his feats of arms and 
his misfortunes. New taxes were levied upon the 
people, in a desperate effort to raise the sum that was 
needed, often at the sacrifice of all honour and principle. 
His courtiers, instead of protesting against these unjust 
measures, only suggested new and equally unscrupulous 
ways of filling his coffers. They were glad, therefore, 
just at this juncture to discover a means of despoiling 
the Bishop of Lincoln, and the fact that they knew 
him to be incapable of any concession contrary to his 
conscience, probably only added zest to the extortion. 

It was suddenly remembered that a custom had 
been allowed to fall into disuse which had been 
observed in an irregular way by several of St. Hugh's 
predecessors. These prelates, with rather short-sighted 
generosity, had made an offering to their Sovereign, 
from time to time, which came to be regarded as an 
annual tribute. It consisted of a magnificent mantle, 


worth a hundred silver marks, lined and trimmed with 
sable fur. 

St. Hugh was now accused of not having pa*d this 
tribute, and he was held responsible, not only for the 
arrears during his own episcopate, but for the time 
which had elapsed since the accession of his imme- 
diate predecessor, Walter of Coutances, who had also 
neglected to discharge this alleged feudal service. It 
was further pretended that he must make compensation 
to his liege lord for the affront offered to the King by 
his neglect. Altogether it came to this, that the Bishop 
of Lincoln was to be forced to pay a very large sum of 
ready money, and he was sent for to Court, where the 
King urged upon him the offering of the customary 
tribute, and suggested that he should make a collection 
in his diocese for that purpose, adding, " You will 
gain more by doing so than I shall ; " meaning that 
the Bishop's popularity would secure a generous 
response, and that he would be able to enrich himself 
with what was left over after the King's tribute had 
been paid. 1 

1 It must not be supposed that this proceeding would have been con- 
sidered so outrageously unprincipled in that day as it would rightly be 
regarded in our own. All taxation, both secular and ecclesiastical, was 
systematically "farmed." The sheriff, or other official, undertook to pay 
into the Exchequer a certain sum at which the proceeds of the tax were 
estimated, and he kept for himself all that it could be made to yield over 
and above. In no matter was this abuse more conspicuous than in the 
collection of Peter's Pence, or " Romescot," as it was called even in Papal 
documents. It is stated that the Archbishop of York, who was rated at 
jn ios., and who accounted for that sum and not a penny more to the 
Papal Treasury, raised from his diocese as much as ^118 under this title, 
and retained the balance for his own use. Innocent III. complained that 
the English Bishops only sent to Rome 300 marks for Romescot, and kept 
back as much as 1,000 marks. (See P. Fabre, " Recherches sur le Denier 
de St. Pierre en Angleterre," in Melanges G. B. de Rossi, 1892.) If these 
things are true, and there is every reason to believe that they are not 
greatly exaggerated, one can understand that there may have been some 
excuse for the apparently unreasonable demands for money made by the 
Pope in the thirteenth century. [Eo.J 


A more mercenary man might perhaps have enter- 
tained such an idea, but Hugh was a true shepherd, 
ready ^o lay down his very life for his flock, and still 
more resolved never to oppress his people or suffer 
them, under any pretext, to be unjustly despoiled. 
Therefore, as usual, he did not think of his own interest, 
but only of his duty to his diocese. The question was 
not quite such a simple one in those days as it may 
appear to us now, for there were certain feudal rights, 
in virtue of which Bishops who held land under the 
Crown could be called upon for contributions, as well 
as the laity. Hugh, however, had studied the matter 
in all its bearings, and while he did not wish to refuse 
anything that was just, he was determined to oppose 
any fresh extortions, and to maintain intact the privi- 
leges of his see. 

This particular tribute of the royal mantle was in 
his eyes an exorbitant demand, contrary to the dignity 
and liberty of his Church, and an affront to the august 
Virgin who was its patroness. Come what might, he 
was determined to deliver himself and his successors, 
once for all, from this intolerable burden. But he 
proceeded with caution, so as not to offend those whose 
opinions on feudal rights were different from his own. 
To remove any pretext for fresh claims and lawsuits 
in the future, he consented to an arrangement by which 
he was to pay the King, in discharge of all obligations, 
a sum of three thousand silver marks. In return for 
this the King gave him a deed of acquittance, which 
was duly signed at Le Mans, on the 23rd of June, 

1 This business of the furred mantle is mentioned both by Hoveden 
(vol. iii. p. 303) and by Giraldus (vol. i. p. 267 and vol. vii. pp. 33, 41, and 
108), as also by John de Schalby. There are slight discrepancies betu.-rn 
the different accounts. The .I/,/-//,/ /"//,/ says it uas worth a hundred 
marks, Giraldus a hundred pounds. Hoveden declares that 1,000 marks 
only were paid to the King to purchase the release from future claims he 


While Richard was congratulating himself upon 
this result a settlement not very creditable either to 
him or to his advisers St. Hugh was wondering where 
he was to find the large sum of money which he had 
undertaken to pay into the Royal Exchequer. He had 
no savings to fall back upon, for every year he spent all 
his income. All that was not actually necessary for his 
own use was devoted to good works, and, far from 
saving any money, he was often obliged to borrow. 
Should he appeal to the generosity of his clergy, who 
were no less interested than himself in the suppression 
of the odious tribute? He might have done this, 
without incurring the reproach of oppressing his flock. 
And indeed such an appeal, which left the contribution 
quite optional, would have put no constraint upon the 
freedom of any individual priest. But the holy Bishop 
was not willing to do even this ; he feared to be a 
burden to his clergy, or to take advantage of his 
personal influence to sway their decision. But there 
was another idea which occurred to his mind, and 
which proved much more tempting. He took a reso- 
lution to leave his diocese for a time, in order to retire 
to his beloved Witham, where it was next to impossible 
for him to spend any money at all. He calculated that 

may not, however, be taking any account of the arrears ; the Magna Vita 
says 3,000 marks in all. A much greater difficulty is caused by the date. 
Hoveden assigns it to the year 1195, and apparently late in the year. 
Giraldus, in a letter (vol. i. p. 266) to which reference will be further made 
in a note to bk. iii. ch. iv. , gives details which seem to fix the final settle- 
ment of this trouble quite positively within the month of October, 1194 
(i.e., after the feast of St. Michael and before that of All Saints). And yet 
in the Registrum Antiquissimum, preserved among the archives of the 
Dean and Chapter at Lincoln, is a copy of Richard's charter of release 
dated Le Mans, June 23rd, 1194 ! It is at least a curious illustration of 
the caution which should be shown in rejecting historic facts merely on the 
ground of a conflict of evidence. On the whole, it seems easier to believe 
that an error has been made in the date in copying the charter into the 
Register, than that Giraldus can be wrong in such a circumstantial state- 
ment. [ED.] 


the saving effected by this reduced expenditure would 
soon realize the sum he needed, while he was delighted 
at the thought of the long period of solitude which he 
would thus be able to enjoy. As soon, however, as his 
project became known, his clergy unanimously opposed 
it. They protested against this unusual absence, and 
did all in their power to divert their good Bishop from 
his purpose. They did more than this : they arrived at 
an understanding amongst themselves, and offered to 
contribute, each one according to his means, to effect 
the deliverance of the diocese. Coming to their Bishop, 
whom they looked upon as a father and protector, they 
begged him to accept this proposition, and not to 
deprive them of his presence. Neither the entreaties 
of his sons nor the advice of his friends could make 
Hugh feel quite at ease in doing as they bid him. But 
as he was unable to withstand the pressure of public 
opinion, he took pains to secure that the contribution 
proposed should be perfectly voluntary. He expressly 
commanded that no one was to be asked for anything, 
and that all who gave should give of their own free-will. 
He took as much from his own revenues as he could 
spare, in order to terminate more quickly this good 
work of reparation, in which he had the happiness of 
seeing all his clergy take part. Their generosity was 
not unworthy of the disinterestedness and public spirit 
displayed by their Bishop. 

Some months after the conclusion of this affair, 
another dispute arose between St. Hugh and the King 
of England, on the occasion of the death of Godfrey, 
Abbot of Eynsham, who had held that post for forty- 
four years, that is to say, ever since the reign of 
Stephen, the predecessor of Henry II. As soon as 
St. Hugh received the news of his death, in the year 
1195, he sent one of his clergy to take charge of the 
abbey and its possessions, in union with the community, 


until the canonical election of a new Abbot could take 
place. In doing this he was exercising a right of 
patronage which undoubtedly belonged to him, for it 
had been solemnly recognized, a century before, by 
William the Conqueror, when Remigius, the first 
occupant of the see of Lincoln, had restored and re- 
populated the Abbey of Eynsham after its destruction 
in the preceding war. A royal charter had expressly 
declared that the patronage of this abbey belonged 
exclusively henceforth to the Bishop of Lincoln and 
his successors. 

In spite of this authority, the adversaries of St. Hugh 
took advantage of the long interruption in the exercise 
of this right which had accidentally occurred, and tried 
to secure it for the Crown. Richard was then in 
France, engaged in a war against Philip Augustus, but 
the representatives of his authority in England pressed 
this unjust claim in their master's behalf, and St. Hugh 
prepared to resist them. 

He had at the same time to defend himself against 
the advice of some of his friends, who were over- 
cautious, and wished him to yield to constraint, and not 
to irritate such powerful opponents. "They declared 
that Henry II. had decreed by a general constitution 
(gcnerali constitutione) , that all the abbeys of the kingdom 
should remain in his gift ; and they urged that it was 
exceedingly unlikely that the son, who was in many 
ways even more unyielding than the father, would 
allow this ordinance to be set aside in favour of a 
privilege claimed by the Bishop of Lincoln, even 
though that privilege had been granted to his see 
by the King's own ancestors." 1 In fine, they repre- 
sented that the slender benefit to St. Hugh himself, 
even if he succeeded in gaining his point, could bear 
no sort of proportion to the risk, the labour, and the 

1 Magna Vita, bk. iv. ch. 8, p. 190. 


expense which he was bound to incur in prosecuting 
such a cause. 

But St. Hugh would listen to none of their specious 
arguments. "God forbid," he said, "that the decree 
of any mortal man should prevail against the rights of 
Christ our Lord and those of the Queen of Heaven. 
Even supposing the laws of which you speak were just, 
they can have no retrospective force to annul the ordi- 
nances of an earlier date. No one of my predecessors 
has ever given his consent to such a measure, and a 
layman has not the power to abolish by any decree a 
privilege of ecclesiastical liberty. Far be it from me to 
allow any one of the rights of the Church, my mistress, 
to be overthrown through fear of any worldly power or 
through reluctance to face trouble and labour. It is 
quite sufficient shame not to extend the prerogatives 
and liberties of Holy Church, which have been won 
and defended by those who have gone before us. But 
how scandalous it would be if, through the supineness 
of a useless and faint-hearted chief, those advantages 
which an energetic champion would have increased and 
developed, be not even maintained intact in the state in 
which they came to him." 1 

Once more, therefore, the Bishop of Lincoln entered 
the lists to do battle for the honour of his see, and for 
the welfare of the Abbey of Eynsham, which might have 
grievously suffered from passing under the patronage 
of the Crown. The suit, which was carried before the 
King's courts, dragged on for two years and a half. 
Hugh spared nothing to gain his cause ; he ardently 
pleaded it himself before the King and the nobles, both 
in England and on the Continent. At length his 
journeys and his untiring efforts were rewarded by a 
complete victory. Twenty-four sworn recognitors, 
whose word was above suspicion, a jury composed 

l Magna Vita, bk. iv. ch. 8, p. 191. 


partly of clerics and partly of laymen, affirmed the 
existence of the right conferred by William the 
Conqueror, and handed down to St. Hugh by his 
predecessors. Accordingly, by the verdict of the 
King's court, both the custody of the vacant abbey 
and the right of appointing the next Abbot were 
adjudged to the Bishop of Lincoln. 1 

The Bishop at once set out for the Abbey of 
Eynsham, which was near Oxford, and had been the 
scene of his election to the see of Lincoln. He 
remained there eight days, living in familiar intercourse 
with the monks, like a good father in the midst of his 
children. He shared in all their religious exercises, 
and took his repasts, with them in the common refec- 
tory. During his stay the community were busied 
about the election of a new Abbot. The result of 
their votes was presented to the Bishop of Lincoln, 
who ratified it in a solemn assembly of the Abbots from 
all the neighbouring monasteries. He then departed 
for Lincoln, with the newly-elected Abbot, whom he 
consecrated in the Cathedral, with great pomp. After 
the ceremony, he gave a grand feast to the Abbot and 

1 This passage in the Magna Vita seems to me to be of considerable 
interest in the history of English law. It runs as follows: " Recognito 
namque per sacramentum viginti quatuor fide dignorum, clericorum pariter 
et laicorum, quid juris praedecessores sui in illo habuissent coenobio, adju- 
dicatur ei ejusdem patronatus in regis curia. Hinc ei restituitur abbatiae 
vacantis custodia, prasficiendi quoque abbatis jurisdictio plena et absoluta." 
(p. 191.) It seems clear that "the generates constitutio of Henry II., 
by which all abbacies remained in the King's gift," is simply the 
i2th article of the Constitutions of Clarendon ; but the Constitution in 
question says only that the custody of abbeys de dominio regis is to 
remain in the King's hand; and the limitation implied in<his clause is to 
be found strongly emphasized in the 46th article of Magna Charta : 
" Omnes barones qui fundaverunt abbatias unde habent cartas regum 
Anglite vel antiquam tenuram, habeant earum custodiam cum vacaverint, 
sicut habere debent." I am unable to decide whether the procedure 
followed in the cause was that of the great assize or of Darrein Presentment 
(Cf. Glanvill, bk. xiii.) [ED.] 


monks of Eynsham, as well as to a large number of 
other ecclesiastics belonging to the diocese. He did 
not pretend to conceal the satisfaction he felt at having 
been able to bring back to the fold these sheep who 
were so nearly stolen from him. To the Abbot he 
presented a magnificent crozier, ornamented with silver 
and ivory, as well as a large and beautiful cup. In fact, 
he went out of his way to shower favours upon the 
whole community thus confided to his care, and from 
that day forth he always showed a particular affection 
for this religious family, which had been ransomed at 
the cost of so much toil and fatigue. 1 


It would hardly be safe to assume from the paternal 
tone of St. Hugh's relations with the monks of Eyns- 
ham, that there was never any friction between him 
and the religious communities settled in his diocese. 
The great Abbey of St. Albans, in particular, which 
after a long struggle had obtained exemption from 
episcopal jurisdiction in 1163, was likely for many years 
to come to prove rather a thorn in the side of the 
occupant of the see of Lincoln. At the very beginning 
of his episcopate, St. Hugh would seem to have been 
involved in a passage of arms with the St. Alban's 
community, and although the story only comes to us 
upon the authority of Giraldus Cambrensis, whose well- 
known recklessness of statement and bitter prejudice 
against the monks warn us not to put too much trust 
in the details of his narrative, it seems none the less to 
be founded on fact. When St. Hugh, says this writer, 
after receiving episcopal consecration in London, was 

1 The reader may be referred to the note which follows bk. iii. ch. v., 
later on, for what seems to me a signal proof of the esteem in which the 
Eynsham community were held by St. Hugh. [Eo.J 


on his way to be enthroned in the Cathedral of his 
diocese, he took the road which passed through 
St. Albans, and stopped there with the intention of 
saying Mass in the abbey church. The monks, how- 
ever, refused to allow him to do so, for having obtained 
from the Holy See the privilege of exemption from 
episcopal authority, and being, like all monks, says 
Giraldus, excessively nervous and touchy about their 
privileges, they were afraid that if the Bishop of Lincoln 
were admitted into their church, the precedent might 
afterwards be used to their disadvantage. When 
St. Hugh, a few days later, reached Lincoln and had 
been duly enthroned, he consulted his canons as to how 
he should vindicate the honour of his see from the 
slight which had been put upon it. By their advice he 
published a decree, that throughout the whole of his 
vast diocese, 1 in which the monks had many scattered 
possessions, the brethren of St. Albans should nowhere 
be permitted to say or to hear Mass, excepting in their 
own churches. Furthermore, he ordained that the 
monks should be systematically boycotted, to use a 
modern phrase, and that none of the faithful subject to 
his authority, under pain of excommunication, should 
receive them into their houses or should buy, sell, or 
barter with them. Thereupon the community of 

1 "Per episcopatum suum totum, qui magnus est et amplus valde, 
septem scilicet comitatus et dimidium tenens," says Giraldus. The most 
striking illustration, to my thinking, of the importance of the diocese of 
Lincoln is to be found in the sum at which it is rated in the assessment of 
Romescot, or Peter's Pence an assessment which, made originally at the 
beginning of the twelfth century, was maintained almost unaltered down to 
the Reformation. According to this, Lincoln for its share of the 300 marks 
levied on the whole of England, paid no less than ^"42, a sum nearly 
double that contributed by any other diocese. The next highest is the 
diocese of Norwich, with ^21 ios., and the third Winchester, with 
17 6s. 8d. Canterbury, York, and London are comparatively speaking 
nowhere. (See P. Fabre, Etude sur le Liber Censuum, p. 143.) The same 
assessment is preserved in the Red Book of the Exchequer. (See Hall's 
Edition, vol. ii. p. 750.) [ED.] 


St. Albans, realizing the inconvenience of the position 
in which they would be placed, and the great losses 
it would entail upon them, are said to have humbly 
craved forgiveness at the Bishop's feet, and to have 
been mercifully received to pardon. Although I do 
not put any trust in the details of this story, no trace 
of which is to be found in the St. Alban's chronicles, 
I am inclined nevertheless to think that it is not a pure 
invention. In the collection of charters and Papal 
briefs accorded to St. Albans, which was known as the 
Liber Additamcntonim, 1 we find, about eighteen months 
after the supposed date of this episode, a batch of no 
less than fifteen Papal documents issued by Clement III. 
between March 15 and June i, 1188. Almost every one 
of these rescripts is of the nature of a privilege, and it 
looks as if the monks had been straining every nerve to 
make favour with the new Pope and to secure them- 
selves in good time against any recurrence of episcopal 
interference. The first of the briefs is headed by the 
St. Alban's monk who copied the documents into the 
register : " A privilege to the effect that no excom- 
munication binds the monks of St. Albans," and it 
decrees in fact that any excommunication launched 
against them by Archbishop or Bishop is ipso facto null 
and void. The next document is headed by the rubri- 
cator : " A confirmation of the exaction of the Church of 
Lincoln." Seeing that it consists of nothing more than 
a confirmation of the agreement arrived at in 1163, 
after the dispute between the Abbey and the Bishop 
and Chapter, the title is significant. It suggests that 
the monks had tried to revoke the cession of land made 
to the Bishop of Lincoln in exchange for the renun- 
ciation of his claims over the abbey, but that the Pope 
had held them to their bargain. The privileges con- 

1 It has been printed in the sixth volume of the Rolls Series edition of 
Matthew Paris. 


ceded by the Pope in these briefs are otherwise very 
ample, but there seems to be no evidence that St. Hugh 
made any attempt to contest them. On the other hand, 
the tone in which the St. Alban's chroniclers of a later 
age refer to the Saint is uniformly sympathetic and 

The great question of the exemption of the abbeys 
from episcopal control, although it was beginning to 
become a burning one just at this period, seems hardly 
to belong to the present Life. 1 St. Albans was at this 
date the only exempt abbey in the diocese of Lincoln, 
and under a prelate like St. Hugh, the monks who 
really wished to lead religious lives had little reason to 
seek for exemption. Even temporally speaking, they 
gained far more from his sympathy and support against 
secular encroachment than they could possibly lose by 
his interference in their domestic concerns. Where 
St. Hugh was satisfied that the Religious, of no matter 
what Order, were living according to their Rule, he 
seems to have shown himself the most loyal and 
generous of friends. The following phrase, for instance, 
which occurs in a charter of St. Hugh to Ramsey 
Abbey, issued somewhere between 1189 and 1195, is 
obviously no mere conventional form, but must have 
been introduced because it represented sincerely the 
mind of the writer. He assigns to the monks of 
Ramsey the proceeds of certain benefices to repair the 
fabric of their church and monastery, to provide lights 
for the altar, and some little conveniences for the sick, 
&c., adding : " This grant has been made by us because 
the good life (honesta conversatio), the humble and 

1 There is much interesting information to be found on this subject in 
the Etude sur le Liber Censuum, by M. Paul Fabre, of the Ecole Franfaise 
of Rome (Paris, 1892), pp. 88 115, and for earlier periods in an Inaugural 
Dissertation by Dr. K. F. Weiss, Die Kirchlichen Extmtionen der Kloster 
(Basel, 1893). 


charitable devotion of the said Abbot and his brethren 
day by day impress us more and more, diffusing a 
perfume, as it were, of frankincense and myrrh, so that 
in a marked and singular degree our spirit finds repose 
amongst them." This grant to Ramsey of the revenues 
of certain benefices in the diocese was by no means a 
unique or isolated instance of such favour being shown 
by St. Hugh to a religious house. On this vexed ques- 
tion of the granting of churches and church tithes to 
the monasteries, a word must be said in another page, 
but it is quite certain that St. Hugh, under proper safe- 
guards, both sanctioned and approved the practice. 
This wise and large-minded Bishop by no means 
shared the views of those who can see nothing in such a 
transaction but a weak concession to the greed and 
rapacity of the monks. [Eo.] 



IF the Bishop of Lincoln knew well how to look after 
his own rights, he devoted himself with a zeal no less 
noteworthy to the just judgment of the cases carried 
before his own tribunal. According to the ancient 
discipline of the Church, recognized expressly by the 
laws of William the Conqueror, each diocese in England 
had its own " Court Christian," for the trial of cases 
provided for in the Canon Law ; and to which not 
only ecclesiastics, but also the laity, used frequently to 
have recourse. 1 This made a heavy burden for the 
Bishop, more especially if his diocese happened to be 
a large one, and if the public confidence which he 
inspired brought him fresh cases to decide from all 

Hugh used to complain of this at times to his 
friends, and would express a wish to lay aside a charge 
so cumbersome when united to that of the episcopate. 
" The only difference," he would say, " between magis- 
trates and bishops at the present day is that the latter 

1 Testamentary and matrimonial causes make up a very large part of 
litigation, and these belonged of right to the Courts Christian. But 
besides these there were sundry expedients by which other causes, not so 
strictly ecclesiastical, might be brought before the same tribunals. (See the 
Cautelce of William of Drogheda, quoted in one of Professor Maitland's 
masterly articles on ' ' Canon Law in England, " English Historical Review, 
October, 1897, p. 632 and p. 653, n. 6.) [Eo.] 


are kept sitting in judgment perpetually, and the former 
only on certain specified days; the civil judges have 
some leisure to attend to their domestic affairs; whereas 
the ecclesiastical judges have scarcely a moment even 
to save their souls." 

Notwithstanding the very natural repugnance which 
the Saint felt to the excessive din and distraction of 
these sessions which he had to preside over, he was 
very careful to maintain their dignity in every way. 
All might count on him for that sovereign love of the 
truth, which, together with prudence and impartiality, 
is the most distinctive qualification of a good judge. 

He was studiously careful never to write or say 
anything that was not punctiliously accurate ; so much 
so that in subpoenas issued under his seal he would not 
allow the usual formula : " We remember having summoned 
you already," to be inserted, fearing, lest through some 
failure of his memory, the words might not be literally 
true. He observed the like caution even in the most 
familiar conversation, and in telling anything he had 
done or heard of, would always use some restrictive 
clause, such as : "If my memory does not deceive me," 
to save his words from all seeming exaggeration or 

Hence we can well imagine with what attention 
he applied himself in his judicial office to the investi- 
gation and exact statement of the truth. He was 
quick to detect all the artifices of chicanery ; and his 
penetration in this matter elicted the admiration of 
experienced lawyers and magistrates. His gift of 
finding a happy solution for the most inextricable 
difficulties, seemed simply miraculous ; as well as the 
possession of an insight clearer than that of the ablest 
practitioners, in one who was without any acquaintance, 
such as theirs, with the inns and outs of a very com- 
plicated system of jurisprudence. 


Plaintiffs of all sorts and conditions soon found out 
this wonderful gift of his, and when once they were 
convinced of the justice of their cause, they would 
betake themselves to the Bishop of Lincoln, with the 
certainty that his perspicacity would frustrate the 
snares of their adversaries, and that his unshaken deter- 
mination would triumphantly vindicate their rights, 1 
All this toil the man of God shared with his arch- 
deacons and other dignitaries chosen from amongst 
those ecclesiastics more capable of aiding him in his 
generous purpose of rendering speedy and ample justice 
to all ; nor did he leave them to their own devices, but 
formed them according to the pattern of his choice. 
Especially, he required that they should desist from 
one custom which seemed to him open to the gravest 
objections ; the custom of inflicting fines, instead of 
canonical penances, lor certain misdemeanours. Hugh 
was convinced of the truth of the sacred text which 
says : " Presents blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert 
the tongue of the just." 2 He feared lest avarice should 
so corrupt his delegates as to lead them to the oppression 
of the innocent, and the protection of the guilty ; and 
he was always reminding them of that other maxim 

1 This will have been specially true of appeals to Rome, in which the 
petitioner was free to "impetrate" certain definite ecclesiastics who should 
be named as Papal delegates to try his case. " But thirdly," says Professor 
Maitland (ubi supra, p. 634), " and this is of great importance, the plaintiff 
who went to the Pope for a writ, seems to have enjoyed a large liberty of 
choosing his own judges. In the letter of ' impetration ' that he sent to 
Rome, he named the persons whose appointment he desired. The Pope 
no doubt was free to name other delegates in their stead ; still we may 
believe that the plaintiff generally got his way, unless he asked for some- 
thing outrageous." Beside the great causes which will be spoken of in the 
next chapter, we find St. Hugh appointed Papal delegate in several minor 
suits, e.g. , Jaffe, 17632, 17633, Potthast, 388, &c., but these few probably 
bear no sort of proportion to the number of which we have no record, 

3 Exodus xxiii. 8. 


of the Sacred Scriptures: "Fire shall devour their 
tabernacles, who love to take bribes." 1 

It was objected to him that defaulters were more 
alive to this sort of punishment, and cared less about 
excommunication or even corporal penalties. To which 
he would reply that this was due to the negligence of 
the judges who were too lenient in their sentences, or 
too careless to see them carried out faithfully, except 
it were a case of some fine to be exacted. And if 
further the example of St. Thomas of Canterbury, who 
followed this custom, were alleged, Hugh never denied 
the fact, but conceived that he was at liberty in this 
point to differ from the sainted Archbishop, and would 
say openly, " Believe me, it was not for that that he 
was canonized ; but on the score of other titles and 
virtues which won him the glorious crown of sanctity 
and martyrdom;" and by this slightly brisk retort he 
would silence his opponents without in any way 
detracting from the respect due to St. Thomas a 
Becket. The due veneration of God's servants does 
not require of necessity that we should approve all 
their actions and opinions, or in any way blind our- 
selves to the light of our own conscience. 

There was one virtue in particular in the holy 
martyr of Canterbury which the Bishop of Lincoln 
admired frankly and followed faithfully his indomitable 
determination against those who despised the authority 
of the Church. St. Hugh, like Thomas a Becket, made 
himself a terror to the turbulent by the way in which 
he availed himself of the formidable weapon of excom- 
munication. Moreover, the justice of God would often 
sanction his censures in an appalling manner, so that 
they became death-warrants ; and of these examples of 
vengeance, some deserve special mention. 

1 Job xv. 34. 


There lived, near the city of Lincoln, a certain 
Thomas of Saleby, a knight of ample fortune, already 
advanced in years and yet childless. His rightful legal 
heir was William of Hardredeshill, also a knight, a 
shrewd and able man, but unfortunately held in 
abhorrence by his sister-in-law, who saw with dread 
the time approaching when she would be dependent 
upon him. To ward off this danger she did not scruple 
to have recourse to a singular piece of deceit ; and 
passed herself off as the mother of a little girl of humble 
birth whom she brought from some country part. 1 Her 
husband, who usually allowed himself to be ruled by 
her, lent himself as a passive accomplice in this iniquity, 
which Sir William denounced to the Bishop of Lincoln, 
about Easter-time in 1194. Hugh, in great indignation, 
summoned Thomas of Saleby on Holy Saturday, and 
strove to extort from him the required evidence ; but he 
only replied by evasions, promising however to make 
a clean breast of it on the morrow, after having con- 
sulted his wife. "And if you do not keep your promise," 
said the man of God, " know for certain that to-morrow 
we shall give sentence of excommunication against all 
the authors and abettors of this crime." 

The would-be mother forbade her husband to keep 
his word ; but the Bishop did not fail to keep his. In 
the middle of the Easter ceremonies he announced to 
the assembled multitude all that had come to his 
knowledge, and made clear to them the enormity of 
this fraud and its injurious consequences alike to him 
who was its victim and to his posterity; adding that 

1 As Mr. Dimock truly says (Magna Vita, p. 170, note), "the main 
facts of this curious narrative are fully confirmed by various acts in the 
public records of the time." Thus in the Curia Regis Rolls, Edit. Hardy, 
we find under date 28 November, 1194, the following entry : " Willielmus 
de Herdredeshill petit recordum et judicium versus Thomam Fitz William et 
Agnetem uxorem ejus de placito falsi puerperii, et Epis. Lincolniensis dicit 
quod loquela ilia special ad curiam Chrislianilalis el pelil earn." [ED.] 


death was wont to strike such criminals suddenly ; and, 
in fine, pronouncing publicly the threatened anathema. 

On the following night, he who had thus taken upon 
himself to answer for his wife's fault, was found dead in 
his bed. 

She, however, persisted in her desire to disinherit 
her brother-in-law ; and she eventually succeeded. By 
a royal decision her pretended daughter was affianced 
to a young brother of the Grand Forester, at that time 
Hugh de Neville. This gentleman, whose name was 
Adam, was so eager to enter into pacific enjoyment 
of the rich patrimony which was the child's portion, 
that he could scarcely wait till she was fourteen, for 
the solemnization of the marriage. In vain did the 
Bishop most strictly forbid the priests to bless, or the 
faithful to sanction by their presence, an union so 
insultingly defiant of the law. In his absence a priest 
was found in some out-of-the-way village simple enough, 
or wicked enough, to celebrate the marriage, of which 
the friends or relations of Adam de Neville were 
witnesses. As soon as the news of this scandal 
reached the Bishop's ears, he suspended the said cleric 
from his functions, and cited the other guilty parties 
to his court. But as they refused to appear before 
him, they were forthwith excommunicated ; a sentence, 
moreover, which Hugh ordered to be published each 
Sunday in all the churches of the diocese. 

At last, under pressure of fear, the widow of Thomas 
of Saleby was persuaded to make a full confession in the 
presence of the Bishop and of certain of his officials. 
She was accompanied by a servant-woman who had 
been the chief instrument in her deceit. But this 
somewhat tardy repentance did not save her from 
ending her days in the bitterest sorrow, after having 
seen the disastrous results of her sin continued to the 


In spite of the publication of her confession by 
St. Hugh, who hastened to give information of the fact 
to the King's judges and to the parties concerned, the 
matter was not yet at an end. Adam de Neville 
persisted in laying claim to the heritage of Sir Thomas, 
and exerted all his influence with the members of the 
court to obtain a sentence in conformity with his 
wishes. Advantage was taken of the absence of the 
Bishop of Lincoln to fix a day for final judgment. 
But on the eve of that very day Adam de Neville, 
who had stopped at an inn near London, slept to 
awaken no more, and instead of appearing before a 
tribunal won over to his cause, he found himself 
suddenly handed over to appear before the tribunal of 

The pretended heiress, together with her fortune, 
was nevertheless once more given in marriage to one 
of the King's chamberlains, who soon died ; : and then, 
a third time, to a gentleman whose violent excesses 
had already drawn down ecclesiastical censures upon 
his head, 2 and who, at the time when St. Hugh's 
biographer was writing, bade fair to end his days in the 
same miserable state. 

This same biographer records other facts of a like 
nature not less striking. We shall not delay to describe 
the horrible death of a forester, excommunicated by the 
Bishop of Lincoln, and brutally murdered a few days 
later by certain marauders against whom he was pre- 
paring to proceed with his usual ungoverned violence. 
But we must lay stress on one other example of the 
Divine justice which followed upon a dispute between 

1 We learn from the extant records that his name was Norman de 
Caritate, or Norman de Camera. In the year 1200, " he gave King John 
200 marks for his infant wife and her inheritance." (See Dimock, p. 177, 
note.) [ED.] 

2 This, we learn from the records, was Brien de Insula, who paid 300 
marks for her. (Dimock, ibidem, Rot, Glaus. 6th John, p. 17, b. [ED.] 


the new Archbishop of Canterbury and our holy Bishop. 
Hubert, who had succeeded Baldwin on the primatial 
throne of England, was also Chief Justice of the 
kingdom and Papal Legate. Gifted as he was, with 
great skill in the management of affairs, and endowed 
with qualities which had won for him the friendship of 
his venerable predecessor, this prelate had on more 
than one occasion manfully upheld the interests of the 
Church ; but too often he had preferred to them those 
of the State or of the King, whose insatiable avarice 
we know so well. He was more careful to replenish the 
royal coffers, than to govern his diocese well or to 
bridle the pretensions of the secular power. At first 
perhaps he wished to secure, if not the connivance, at 
least the obsequious silence of the Bishop of Lincoln 
by gaining his good-will. The boy whom, as we have 
seen, he brought over to him from France, may possibly 
have been proof of some such conciliatory disposition. 
But the Archbishop was not slow to take a very different 
attitude as soon as occasion revealed the unbending 
integrity of our Saint. 

Such an occasion was offered in the unfortunate 
case of Richard de Waure, deacon of the diocese of 
Lincoln, younger son of a noble family, who conceived 
a desire to become a Religious. He had applied for 
admission to a monastery and had been accepted. But 
on learning that his elder brother had died childless he 
gave up his pious resolve, and the rich heritage which 
he was to receive led him to forget the call of God. 
This was the beginning of his fall. For some time, 
however, he seems to have enjoyed his wealth, and we 
find him winning the favour of King Richard and of 
the Chief Justice. This he wished to turn to account 
for the ruin of a certain Reginald d'Argentan, a knight 
who, like himself, belonged to the diocese of Lincoln ; 
and against whom he brought a charge of high treason. 


As many were perfectly convinced that the charge was 
false, and as it was a question of capital punishment, 
the Bishop of Lincoln forbade the deacon, under pain 
of excommunication, to continue the prosecution. But 
he, relying on the favourable interference of the King 
and the Primate, made bold to resist the order ; where- 
upon Hugh promptly declared him suspended for con- 
tempt of ecclesiastical discipline. 

Richard de Waure then betook himself to the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, who released him from the 
censures laid upon him. Forthwith he started off 
triumphantly to notify the fact of his absolution to 
his Bishop, whom he discovered in the thick of an 
assembled multitude of prelates and nobles. He told 
him with some insolence that by this act of the Legate 
he considered himself exempt from his jurisdiction, and 
free to testify his loyalty to the King in procuring the 
punishment of traitors ; and he congratulated himself 
that he had now no reason to be disturbed by a censure 
which he could regard as unauthorized. But the more 
he strove to overawe the Bishop, the more did he 
render him inflexible. " It is not the least use," said 
he to the deacon, " to boast about your absolution. If 
you still refuse to obey me, I will excommunicate you 
on the spot." The rebel remained obstinate and began 
to threaten furiously as if he were speaking in the 
King's name ; and so the Bishop straightway pro- 
nounced sentence of excommunication. 

Richard de Waure returned to the Legate and told 
him what had happened ; saying that it was an insult 
to the Archbishop and a grievous wrong to the King. 
He asked and received a letter in which the Primate 
ordered the Bishop of Lincoln to hold the deacon 
absolved. Hugh could not deny the validity of the 
Legate's absolution, but he did not consider himself 
thereby deprived of his jurisdiction over a rebellious 


subject of his own. Having read the letter, he said to 
the deacon, who had brought it: "Even though the 
Lord Archbishop should absolve you a hundred times, 
I will excommunicate you straight off a hundred times 
and more, so long as I see you persisting in your foolish 
rebellion. You know well enough the respect due to 
our sentence ; and now, understand, that we reiterate 
and confirm it in all its force." The Bishop intended 
no doubt to appeal directly to the Sovereign Pontiff in 
case the Legate Hubert should offer a more formal 
opposition to the exercise of his canonical power. But 
God took the task of his justification into his own 

The deacon had retired considerably ruffled at the 
issue of this interview ; and under the influence of fear 
began to consider whether it were not better to submit 
to the orders of his Bishop. He hadno time, however, 
to make known the outcome of these cogitations, for a 
few days later, one of his servants, in a fit of rage, split 
open his head with an axe ; and thus the rebel died by 
the hand of another rebel, without having time to show 
any sign of repentance. 

On another occasion the holy Bishop saw his 
authority set at open defiance by a woman whom he 
sought to bring back to a life of conjugal fidelity. The 
daughter of an Oxford tradesman had contracted lawful 
marriage with a young man of the same city, and 
had afterwards deserted him to live in adultery with 

The injured husband brought his grievance before 
the Bishop and gave proof of his wife's infidelity. 
Encouraged by her unworthy mother, she would in 
nowise listen to the man of God, who urged her to 
return to her duty, but, in the presence of a dense 
crowd, and hard by the altar before which the Bishop 
was standing encirled by his clergy, she openly defied 


him in the church after a most scandalous fashion. She 
protested she would die rather than go back as she was 
told. Hugh, after using all means of persuasion, took 
the husband's hand, and said to the young woman : " If 
you wish to be my daughter, listen to what I tell you : 
give your husband the kiss of peace, and take him with 
the blessing of God. Else I will spare neither you nor 
your advisers." 

These words, full both of gentleness and power, 
failed to move the unhappy adultress. When her 
husband, at the bidding of the man of God, came 
forward to embrace her, she spat in his face. A thrill 
of indignation ran through the by-standers. 

" You have refused the blessing," cries the Bishop, 
in a terrible voice, " and you have chosen the curse ; 
and now behold it falls upon you ; " and therewith he 
pronounces the excommunication. 

The refractory wife withdrew, persisting in her 
rebellion. She lived a few days longer, during which 
her heart grew harder and harder, but very soon a 
sudden and terrible death cut short her sinful enjoy- 

Thus was the sanctity of marriage vindicated no 
less than the authority of its illustrious defender. 

By these examples, noised abroad not only in the 
diocese of Lincoln, but throughout England, men learnt 
to fear the excommunications of the holy Bishop and 
to avoid them carefully, or else to get absolved from 
them as soon as possible. 

However grieved by the impenitence of certain 
guilty souls, Hugh could not but marvel at that Provi- 
dence which brought good out of evil, and pressed 
justice into the service of mercy. He cordially embraced 
such as returned to the path of duty ; and continued 
with unwearied courage to make the decisions of his 
own tribunal respected, as well as the decrees of the 


Holy See, of which he was often the honoured repre- 
sentative in the investigation of the most delicate and 
complicated cases. 


The picture of St. Hugh's administration of justice 
contained in this chapter may very well he supple- 
mented by an account which Giraldus Cambrensis has 
left us, of an affair in which he himself appeared before 
the Bishop's court in the character of a suitor. It was 
a common thing with Giraldus to labour under a sense 
of grievance, and the feeling must have been strong 
upon him, when he addressed to St. Hugh the long 
letter of remonstrance which I am about to quote from. 
Everything that we know of the writer suggests that 
his account of the dispute is likely to be a very one- 
sided one, in which his own case is skilfully presented 
and all the strong points on the other side are slurred 
over. But even while making complaints against 
St. Hugh, Giraldus really throws into relief the unique 
position which he occupied among the English Bishops 
of that day. 

It would seem that in the early part of the year 1193, 
the rectory of Chesterton (in Oxfordshire), fell vacant. 
The right to present was claimed by Gerard of Camville, 
previously Sheriff of Lincolnshire, the same who only 
a short time before had held the Castle of Lincoln 
against the Chancellor, William of Longchamp. 1 He 
named Giraldus Cambrensis to the benefice, who at 
once applied to St. Hugh for institution. There seems, 
however, to have been considerable doubt as to the 
ownership or custody of the lands in virtue of which the 
presentation was made. One of the Lincoln canons, 
William St. Mere I'feglise, who afterwards became 

1 See above, p. 283 and note i. The castle was really defended by 
his wife, Nicholaa, Gerard himself being away. 


Bishop of London, 1 was at that very time preparing to 
contest the title of Camville to the "custodia" in question, 
and St. Hugh, sympathizing, it would seem, with his 
own canon rather than with the sheriff, 2 delayed to 
institute Giraldus on the ground that there was no 
satisfactory evidence of the sheriff's right to present. 
Giraldus was put to great trouble in getting letters 
from the Archbishop of Canterbury, from Stephen Ridel, 
and others, to urge his cause, but at last, about February 
2nd, 1194, St. Hugh consented to institute him. Until 
September, 1194, Giraldus seems to have been left in 
quiet possession, but in the meantime William de 
St. Mere 1'Eglise had played his cards so well with 
the King that he had obtained a verdict in his favour, 
and the custody of the estate had now passed into 
his hands. Thereupon an attempt was made to oust 
Giraldus from the rectory of Chesterton, and a mandate 
was addressed to St. Hugh by the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, bidding him deprive the recently instituted 
rector, and retain the church in his own keeping, until 
the Barons of the Exchequer had decided whether the 
presentation belonged to the Crown or to somebody 
else. St. Hugh is reproached by Giraldus for weakly 
giving way to the Archbishop, through his anxiety not 
to offend the King's friends at this juncture, when the 

1 St. Hugh was one of the consecrating prelates when William St. Mere 
1'Eglise received episcopal orders in 1199. The name in Latin nearly 
always appears as Willielmus de Sanctae Marias Ecclesia (i.e., William of 
St. Mary Church). Why the form William St. Mire 1'Eglise has come to 
prevail among modern writers I am quite unable to explain. There seems 
no doubt that he was a great pluralist, as Giraldus insinuates, but Giraldus 
himself was holding more than one piece of preferment at this time. 

2 I call him the sheriff for convenience sake, though he was not sheriff 
at the moment. As Gerard de Camville was a great upholder of the party 
of Prince John, the King's brother, against the Chancellor (see above, 
pp. 283 and 288), the episode is interesting as showing that St. Hugh had 
by no means committed himself unreservedly to the support of the same 


affair of the furred mantle was just on the point of 
being settled. Whether Hugh really took part against 
Giraldus or not, he seems somehow or other to have 
negotiated a compromise by which the church of 
Chesterton was placed under the care of a " vicar," 1 a 
certain William, apparently a protege of St. Mere 
I'^glise, but a man whom Giraldus declares he had 
never set eyes upon in his life. To this William, as 
vicar, twenty marks a year were to be given, a very 
handsome stipend indeed for those days, while Giraldus 
himself, though he was still " parson," would receive 
only what was left, amounting, as he complained, to 
no more than a miserable pittance of four marks and 
a half per annum. Even this sum apparently was not 
regularly paid, and the parson accordingly cited his 
vicar to appear in the Bishop's court, but though a 
day and place had been named by St. Hugh for hearing 
the cause, the proctor of Giraldus, when he duly pre- 
sented himself at Dorchester on the appointed day, 
failed to find either court or defendant. If the story 
which Giraldus tells represents the whole truth, he 

1 It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to explain that a vicar meant 
originally, as its derivation indicates, a substitute. The vicar was the 
substitute of the rector or " parson," and in the case of appropriated 
churches where the rectory had been given to a layman or to a corporation 
(collegium], e.g., to a community of monks or nuns, the cure of souls in 
the parish was necessarily committed to a vicar. In the beginning such 
vicars were probably removable at the will of the parson, and their stipends 
were arbitrary and variable. But ecclesiastical authority, as mentioned in 
the text, seems very soon to have insisted, that the vicars should have a 
certain fixity of tenure and that a definite allowance, sufficient to meet the 
approval of the Bishop, should be made to them out of the tithes or other 
revenues ; these being usually paid to the parson of the church (person^ 
ecclesice), though the parson might be an absentee, a layman, or a corpora- 
tion. As may be seen in the Vicarage Book of Hugh de Wells (Liber 
Antiquus], the vicar's stipend, though determined in each case by the 
authority of the Bishop, varied greatly in amount and in manner of 
payment, but it was fixed and permanent, and the vicarage itself now 
became a benefice in the gift of the individual or the corporation who 
represented the original " parson." 


had no doubt some excuse for considering himself 
hardly dealt with. He writes in the tone of a martyr, 
offers to resign the church of Chesterton altogether, 
and affects to speak more in sorrow than in anger of 
his grievous disappointment in finding that even Hugh 
was not courageous enough to take up the cudgels for 
his friends against the malevolence of the court officials. 
"Who," asks Giraldus, "shall be found to keep in 
check the monstrous encroachments of the men of the 
court ? Who will denounce the pretensions of the royal 
power and the so-called * ancestral customs ' (consuetudines, 
quas avitas vacant), both old and new, for which the 
Blessed Thomas in his glorious contest after staking 
many other things finally staked his head ? Who will 
stand forth as the champion of Christ's Church to 
defend the rights of the clergy, if the Bishop of Lincoln, 
the only man in this land upon whom our hopes were 
built, should grow faint-hearted, which God forbid, 
and give up the struggle?" The writer enters at 
considerable length into the details of the dispute, he 
shows that his deprivation, even though ordered by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, was wholly unjustifiable, he 
describes the speech which he had made before the 
diocesan synod in October, 1194, and incidentally lets 
us see by making reference to three consecutive half 
yearly synods how regularly these assemblies were held 
during St. Hugh's administration, the Bishop himself pre- 
siding. Further, he professes that he had all along felt 
such a deep conviction of the justice of his cause and of 
St. Hugh's integrity, that he had no thought even then 
of appealing to the Holy See as he might easily have 
done. " There were several in the synod," he tells 
St. Hugh, " who were greatly astonished, declaring that 
they had never known or heard of your acting so before, 
and they urged, though without persuading me, that 
I should enter an appeal to the Pope and send off a 


messenger to the Curia. 1 But though the wrong done to 
me was plain and manifest, I neither appealed nor spoke 
any harsh word, but I endured all in patience. * There 
was no iniquity found upon my tongue, and foolishness 
did not sound in my mouth." 2 So much so, that there 
were many who put this conduct of mine down to 
mere dulness, or at least to want of spirit. Even when 
they pricked me on or taunted me, all that I said was : 
4 If I am the first who has met with such a wrong at 
the hands of my lord Bishop, I can only pray that I 
may also be the last.' And in the meantime I kept 
saying within myself with holy Job : 3 * The Lord gave 
and the Lord hath taken away ; as it hath pleased the 
Lord, so is it done.' * Have I not dissembled ? have 
I not kept silence ? have I not been quiet ? and 
indignation is come upon me.' 4 'When he shall have 
fulfilled his will in me many other like things are also 
at hand with him.' 5 'Although he should kill me a 
thousand times over, I will still trust in him.' " 6 

If this is really an accurate account of Giraldus' 
behaviour on the occasion, those who are most familiar 
with his writings will probably be the first to allow 
that it affords very remarkable testimony to the respect 
in which he held the Bishop of Lincoln. Anything 
more un-Joblike than the language in which he usually 
indulged under similar provocation it would be hard 
to imagine. I am afraid, however, that the true 
explanation of the letter is to be found in the Welsh 
archdeacon's shrewd guess, that if St. Hugh had a 
weak point it was likely to be sensitiveness to any 

1 " Ut ad priDsentiam domini papse appellarem et ad curium initterem." 
I cannot be sure whether curia here means the King's Court or the Court 
of Rome. Such appeals would apparently have needed the royal sanction 
according to the King's idea before they could be prosecuted at Rome. The 
letter of Giraldus is to be found in the first volume of his works (Rolls 
Series), pp. 259 268. 

3 Job vi. 30. 3Jobi.2i. 4 Jobiii.26. " Job xxiii. 14. Job xiii. 15. 


insinuation of subserviency in his dealings with the 
Court and Court favourites. It seems clear enough 
that St. Hugh had sided with William St. Mere FEglise 
against Giraldus, and William was a great man and 
in high favour with the King. So far appearances 
were against the Saint, but it does not of course follow 
that the right was with Giraldus, still less that the 
Bishop of Lincoln's obedience to his metropolitan 
was dictated by any unworthy motive. Whether the 
writer's accumulation of texts denouncing all accepta- 
tion of persons and his references to St. Thomas of 
Canterbury produced any effect upon St. Hugh, we 
have no information to enable us to determine. 

The same letter contains many interesting details 
which bear upon English law and practice at this 
period concerning Church presentations, but they are 
too technical to be discussed here. 1 I will only remark 
that the priest William, who was appointed by St. Hugh 
to fulfil parochial duties in the church of Chesterton, 
with a salary of twenty marks a year, seems clearly to 
have been a perpetual vicar whom Giraldus, as rector 
or parson, could not dismiss at will. This is a com- 

1 One such point may be quoted as a specimen. Giraldus declares that 
he told St. Hugh, the Archbishop of Canterbury confirming his statement : 
1 ' Regni consuetudinem talem esse, quod custodes donee ad annos legitimos 
pueri pervenennt, ecclesias interim vacantes personis conferunt non 
collegiis." (p. 262.) This apparently means that if the advocatus or custos 
ecdesicB, the person, that is, who had the right to present, was a minor, 
then the church could only be given to an individual (as parson), and not to 
a corporate body. I gather from this that Gerard of Camville did not claim 
to present in his own rig^t, but in virtue of some ward of his, who was a 
minor, and that St. Hugh had at hrst wanted the benefice to be made over 
to a religious community. However, Giraldus does not tell us enough to 
make the matter clear. It is curious that when on the death of Giraldus 
the rectory of Chesterton again fell vacant in 1222, the lord of Chesterton 
was a minor, and the Archdeacon of London presented to it It would 
seem that the arrangement made by St. Hugh for the stipend of the vicar 
still subsisted, the rector being paid a pension of 5^ marks in place of the 
\>/i, which Giraldus declared he received. (Dunkin's Oxfordshire ', vol. i. p. 250. ) 


paratively early instance of this form of benefice, 1 which 
arose out of the Papal legislation of the beginning of 
the twelfth century, reinforced by various provincial 
synods, and which became very common after the 
Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. To Hugh Wells, 
Bishop of Lincoln from 1209 to 1235, the credit has 
been assigned of " rescuing from monkish greed and 
selfishness a portion of the tithes of the churches which 
by one method or another the Religious had appro- 
priated. " s That some sort of general inquisition into 
the vicarages, and an authoritative settlement of a 

1 The introduction of perpetual vicarages is dated by many writers a 
great deal too late. Phillimore, for instance, says : "Vicarages are usually 
supposed to have begun in the eighth year of Henry III., but they are to 
be met with as early as the time of King John. It would seem that there 
is an instance of the appointment of a perpetual vicar in the reign of 
Henry II." (Ecclesiastical Law of the Church of England, vol. i. p. 226. 
C.'f. Makower, Constitutional History of the Church of England, Eng. Ed. 
p. 331 ; Twiss, Preface to Bracton, De Legibus Anglice, iv. pp. ix. seq.) 
But already in 1173 an English Provincial Synod enacts that "perpetual 
vicars, who are bound by oath to the parsons of their churches, are not to 
set themselves up against the parson" (Mansi, Concilia, vol. xxii. p. 144; 
Wilkins, vol. i. p. 474) ; and it is surely a reasonable inference that before 
legislation of this kind can have been found necessary, perpetual vicars 
must have become numerous. The fact is, that while nothing requires us 
to believe that perpetual vicarages were a novel institution in the reign of 
Henry II., there are many indications of the contrary. The decree of 
the Councils of Clermont (1130) and Second Lateran (1139) " Praecipimus 
etiam ne conductitiis presbyteris ecclesiae committantur, et unaquaeque 
ecclesia proprium habeat sacerdotem " is plainly intended to secure the 
appointment of perpetual vicars. Compare the wording of the fifth canon 
of Tours (1163) and the fourth canon of Avranches (1172). Again, in the 
collection of decrees published by Mansi as an Appendix to the Third Lateran 
Council (vol. xxii. pp. 248 453), are a number of decisions about vicarages 
addressed by Pope Urban III. (11851187) to English Bishops, from one 
of which we find that priests were already beginning to hold vicarages in 
plurality, and in another of which the Pope practically pronounces all 
vicars to be irremovable, except for some canonical offence proved in the 
Bishop's Court, while he furthermore guarantees the permanence of their 
stipends. (Ibid. pp. 398, 399.) The instances of permanent vicars which 
1 have noted in connection with St. Hugh's life were certainly not the only 
ones known in England at that period. 

- Canon G. G. Perry, in the Preface to Liber Antiquus Hugonis Wells. 


competent allowance to be made to the vicar, took 
place under Hugh Wells, is no doubt true ; but if it be 
insinuated that no provision was made before that time 
for the spiritual needs of appropriated churches, or that 
the vicars were generally left without adequate means 
of subsistence, the suggestion seems wholly unwar- 
ranted. Besides the definite instances of the vicarage 
of Chesterton just mentioned, of another of which we 
know at Swinford, 1 and of two in the Ramsey Chartulary, 2 
there is every reason to believe that St. Hugh never 
granted, or sanctioned the grant, of Church property to 
a religious community without requiring adequate pro- 
vision to be made for a suitable vicar. Knowing as 
we do how scrupulous St. Hugh was in the matter of 
legal phraseology, we may be quite sure that when in 
a charter of his of this kind in the Harleian collection 
to which his seal is still attached, we read such words 
as these : " Reserving always competent vicarages to 
those who in their own proper persons shall minister 
in the same churches through the nomination of the 
said (regular) Canons," the clause was no mere matter 
of form. The charter in question is one which makes 
over to the Premonstratensian Canons of Newhouse 
the revenues of no less than six Lincolnshire parishes 
(cum omnibus ad ipsas pertinentibus in proprios eorundem 
Canonicovum ttsus), always of course under the proviso 
just mentioned of a competent allowance to the vicars 
who did the duty. 3 

1 Ibid. Preface, p. ix. 

2 At Shillingdon and Hemingford. The charters in these two cases 
again show the most careful and generous provision for the needs of the 
vicars. In the second case the vicar, Master Aristotle, is mentioned by 
name, and there is question of his successors in this perpetual vicarage. 
(Ramsey Chartulary, vol. ii. p. 176.) 

3 Harleian Charter, 43 H. 23. It would be easy to find several other 
instances. See, for instance, Abbreviatio Placitorum, p. 94 a., where a 
grant of two churches is cited, made by St. Hugh to the Canons of Nockton. 



And this may bring us to the fact already touched 
upon in a previous note, that St. Hugh was obviously 
very far from sharing the views of so many Anglican 
writers of the present day, who regard the appropriation 
of benefices to religious houses as a gross piece of 
injustice and a crying example of "monkish greed and 
selfishness." That the practice might lead and did 
lead to abuses no one will be disposed to deny ; still 
the evil was not inherent in the institution itself, but 
contingent and accidental, resulting in most cases from 
the decay of the religious spirit in particular monas- 
teries. As long as a community of monks or canons 
consisted on the whole of God-fearing men living under 
regular discipline, they might very reasonably be 
depended upon to provide for the adequate discharge 
of those duties which were involved in the cure of souls 
either in pvopria persona or by deputy. Surely it was 
a thousand times better that the surplus funds of such 
benefices should be devoted to monastic purposes, 
in which works of charity and utility undoubtedly 
played a conspicuous part, than that they should go 
to fill the pockets of some hanger-on of the Court, a 
pluralist or a layman who never came within a hundred 
miles of the parish of which he was " parson," and who 
cared nothing at all about the services of the church or 
the souls of his parishioners. Yet that was practically 
the alternative under the conditions of the time. The 
more Canon Perry and others insist upon the ignorance 
or the scandalous lives of the clergy at that epoch, the 
more ample the justification they afford for the action 
of all the most respected members of the English 
Episcopate who, like St. Hugh, endowed religious 
houses freely with churches and church tithes. Which, 

Salva honcsta sustentacione vicariontm <// in cis ministrabunt. See also 
the charters of St. Hugh to Eynsham, an abstract of which has been 
printed by Bishop White Kennett in his Parochial Antiquities, i. p. 194. 


we may ask, was better, that these tithes and dues 
should be spent in raising some splendid chapter-house, 
or fratry, or abbey church, with at least a fair chance- 
that it might be given even more directly to the uses 
of hospitality or the service of God's poor, or that it 
should be spent in buying gowns or building a lodging 
for the poor creature who was not and in those days 
could not be the parson's wife ? l This was the form 
in which the question practically presented itself to 
St. Hugh and to many another good prelate of his 
time. His conclusion was that providing always a 
decent competence was secured to the priest (the 
" perpetual vicar " who held the cure of souls in the 
parish), the surplus would be well spent in the support 
of the monks and nuns who devoted their lives by 
profession, and on the whole faithfully, to the service 
of God and to good works. 

It has been said above that St. Hugh was puncti- 
liously truthful, even amid the formalities and verbiage 
of a legal document. I think therefore that we are 
justified in seeing something more than a mere con- 
ventional platitude in a clause which occurs in the 
earliest of his charters to Ramsey Abbey, in which he 
makes to the monks a very handsome grant of Church 
property. " We believe," says the Saint,-" that we are 

1 We learn from Giraldus and many other sources that even in 
St. Hugh's time the secular clergy in the remoter districts of England and 
Wales disregarded the law of celibacy, and left sons who expected to 
succeed to their father's benefice almost as a matter of right. One of the 
documents issued by Pope Clement III. to St. Alban's Abbey in 1188, 
referred to on p. 300, insists that the succession of a son to his father's 
benefice can never be permitted. (Matt. Paris, vol. vi. pp. 45 and 52.) 
" Nobis est pro certo monstratum," says the Pope, "quod personae et 
vicarii, filios quos de concubinis suscipiunt, ad sacros faciunt ordines 
promoveri, et eis ecclesias suas quasi rem hsereditariam post mortem 
dimittunt." The Pope hints in these documents that the monks were more 
likely to prove watchful guardians of the law of clerical celibacy than the 


discharging a duty of our pastoral office when with just- 
moderation we assign the benefices of churches to the 
uses of religious men. Hence it is that hearkening to 
the prayers of our beloved sons, Robert, Abbot of 
Ramsey, and the community of that house, amongst 
whom we find many signs of charity and of religious 
life, we ordain and grant," &c., and St. Hugh proceeds 
to make over to these good Benedictines certain rents 
from eight different parishes of the neighbourhood. 
And despite the Bishop's sensible qualification of a 
"just moderation" in such concessions, the number of 
similar charters issued by him must have been con- 
siderable. Several have already been referred to on 
page 231, but others might be added. 1 It is note- 
worthy that in many of these and similar acts, St. Hugh 
not only descends into minute detail, but is careful to 
guard the rights of his parish churches. There is an 
interesting instance of this in a decision of his affecting 
a chapel-of-ease at Hundridge, served by the Cistercian 
monks of Woburn (Beds.). 2 It is stipulated that the 
monks are to furnish a chaplain and a clerk for three 
days in each week, the Sunday, Wednesday, and 
Friday ; in Lent and Advent, however, on four days, 
the Saturday being added. They are to provide 
Tenebrae service on the three days of Holy Week ; and 
on Christmas Day, Matins and the two first Masses. 
If a feast comes in the week, it is to count as one of 

1 e.g. , In the Abbreviatio Placitorum, we hear of a grant by St. Hugh 
of the churches of Nockton and Duneston to the Austin Canons of 
Nockton (Salva honesta suslenlacionc vimriorum, &.C.), p. 94a ; also of 
a grant of his of the church of Middleton to Bewley Abbey, p. 893. Again, 
in the Liber Antiquus Hugonis de Wells (p. 73), we learn that he gave 
Skidbrook church to the Austin Canons of Thornton, and the churches of 
Marton, Newton, and Norton to the Canons of the Hospital, Lincoln. 
To Eynsham and Osney he seems to have been equally generous. For 
some charters of his to Reading Abbey, see Kennel, Parochial Antiquities, 
i. p. 194. 

- Abbreviatio Placitorum, p. 32 a. 


the regular days ; and the monks are to supply all 
necessary church furniture. But the Bishop insists 
that on principal festivals, to wit, on Christmas Day 
for the High Mass, on the Purification, Good Friday, 
Easter, Pentecost, and the feast of the Dedication of 
the Church, those who ordinarily use the chapel-of-ease 
must recognize the rights of the parish church of 
Chesham and attend service there. 

I am inclined, therefore, to think that although the 
accidental preservation of Hugh de Wells' Book of 
Vicarages has led to special attention being devoted 
to his work in this matter, his predecessors in the see, 
and notably St. Hugh of Avalon, were just as earnest 
in securing an adequate provision for the vicars who 
served the parish churches. The entries in Hugh de 
Wells' book are very far from including all the churches 
served by vicars. I doubt if they account for even 
the half. Probably the parishes omitted are those in 
which the emoluments of the vicar were already 
clearly defined in some legal instrument. 1 And even 
in those mentioned we find a considerable number in 
which the arrangement between the religious cor- 
poration and its vicar is said to be ex dudum constitutis, 
" in virtue of an agreement of old standing," dating 
probably from St. Hugh's time, or even earlier, but not 
perhaps attested in any formal document. 

Finally, before taking our leave of St. Hugh in his 
capacity of administrator, it may be worth while to 
call attention to a collection of canons apparently 
issued by St. Hugh at the commencement of his epis- 
copate, seeing that they are cited by Benedict under 
the year 1186. One of these provisions forbids the 

1 On the first page of the book a suggestive phrase occurs in connection 
with the vicarages of Osney Abbey : ' ' Ubi vicarice non fuerint prius 
ordinatce per episcopum de consensu ipsorum, per Dominum Lincolniensem 
(Hugh de Wells) provisum est in hunc modum," &c. 


exacting of any fee for the appointment of vicars to 
chantries, where I am inclined to think that chantries 
is a generic term covering all functions in which the 
principal duty was the saying of Mass. For some 
of these canons I know no earlier authority than this 
ordinance of St. Hugh's, but nearly all of them may 
be found included in the decrees of later English 
Councils, e.g., those of York in 1195, and of West- 
minster in 1200. The majority of St. Hugh's canons 
were directed against the simoniacal practices which, 
as we learn from Giraldus, were one of the great 
ecclesiastical abuses in England at that day. Their 
publication by the new Bishop of Lincoln shortly after 
his consecration would seem to have caused some little 
sensation, for the Chronicle of Benedict, in which 
alone they are preserved to us, introduces them in the 
following words. 

" In the meantime, Bishop Hugh, while residing in 
his diocese, gave edification to the people committed 
to him, both by his way of life (conversatione) 1 and by 
the word of paternal exhortation, and in his synods 
he enjoined in virtue of their obedience both his clergy 
and people to keep without fail the following decrees : 

"i. That nothing should be given or received for 
administering or hastening the administration of justice. 

" 2. That nothing should be given or exacted of 
vicars for their chantries. 

" 3. That the archdeacons and their officials should 
not presume without regular trial to suspend or excom- 
municate 2 any church or clerk or any one else. 

"4. That no layman or other person not a priest 

1 Canon Perry (p. 204) translates convcrsatione "by his conversation" ! 
This may conceivably be meant for an archaism, but no one reading the 
translation would suspect it to be such. 

- Canon Perry translates suspenderc ant excommunicare by " should not 
presume to fine." 


should have it enjoined upon him as a penance to get 
Masses said. 

" 5. That no Anniversary Masses or trentals or 
other fixed Masses should be celebrated for temporal 

" 6. That no one be admitted to the performance 
of priestly functions unless it be proved that he was 
ordained canonically by the Archbishop of Canterbury 
or one of his suffragans. 

"7. That all who hold ecclesiastical preferment 
should keep their hair cut short and wear the tonsure. 

" 8. That no cleric should sue another cleric in a 
temporal court in matters ecclesiastical." [ED.] 


AT the beginning of one of the Letters addressed by 
Pope Celestine III. to the Bishop of Lincoln, we find 
the prerogatives of the See of Peter thus solemnly 
affirmed : " The Great Mediator between God and 
man, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose Providence is 
never at fault in any of His decrees, has reserved to 
the Holy Roman Church the sole power of correcting 
and instructing all other Churches. To her alone 
belongs the right of reforming all abuses, and approving 
all that is worthy of approbation, by virtue of her 
Apostolic authority." 1 

The highest ecclesiastical dignitaries, as well as the 
humblest of the faithful, are equally dependent on this 
supreme jurisdiction, and owe an entire obedience to 
the successor of St. Peter. 2 The Pope, at the head 

* Migne, P.L. t. ccvi. col. 1037. The date of this Letter is June 8, 


8 These are the words in which the Vatican Council has defined this 
jurisdiction : " If any one says that the Roman Pontiff has only to fulfil 
an office of inspection and direction, and does not possess full and supreme 
power of jurisdiction over the Universal Church, not only in matters con- 
cerning faith and morals, but also in those which have to do with the 
discipline and government of the whole Church ; if any one says that 
the Roman Pontiff only possesses the chief part of this power, and does not 
possess it in its plenitude, and to its utmost extent ; or that this power is 
not ordinary and immediate, both over all Churches and each individual 
Church, and over all Pastors and each individual of the faithful ; let him 
be Anathema." (Const itutio de Ecclesia Christi, ch. iii.) 


of the great society of the Christian Church, is not like 
those monarchs who reign without governing ; he is 
a true father, who possesses the most complete authority 
over his children, and who exercises it, without respect 
of persons, by a real and continual action, either by 
himself examining into the cases brought before his 
tribunal, or by appointing delegates to act in his stead. 
In the Letter from which we have just quoted the 
opening clause, Celestine III. committed to the Bishop 
of Lincoln the task of inquiring into the accusations 
brought against the illegitimate son of Henry II., 
Geoffrey, then Archbishop of York, and at an earlier 
period Bishop-Elect of Lincoln. After renouncing his 
claim to the see of Lincoln, by order of the Holy See, 
Geoffrey became Chancellor to his father, to whom he 
gave numerous proofs of sincere attachment. In 
accordance with a wish expressed by Henry II. before 
his death, Geoffrey was elected Archbishop of York in 
1190, and in 1191 was consecrated at Tours. We need 
not give the history of his quarrels with William of 
Longchamp, nor revive all the accusations of his 
enemies. It is sufficient to say that his Canons con- 
sidered his conduct more worthy of a great baron than 
of a Bishop, and reproached him with neglecting his 
pastoral duties, and with arbitrary and violent action 
in all his official relations. The Pope, troubled at the 
denunciations made to him, wished to know the truth 
of the matter; and in looking round for a representative 
who should possess the discretion and firmness neces- 
sary for such an inquiry, his choice fell upon the 
Bishop of Lincoln. 

Three years before this, St. Hugh had had occasion 
to show how little he was dazzled by the royal, but 
illegitimate birth of his colleague in the episcopate. 
Rosamund Clifford, the mother of Geoffrey, had sought 
refuge in the Convent of Godstow, where she did 


penance for her sinful life. 1 For her sake, King 
Henry II. had loaded the community at Godstow with 
benefits and privileges. When Rosamund died, she 
was buried in the choir of the church, and her tomb, 
covered with silken draperies, was surrounded by wax- 
tapers and lamps always burning, the King having left 
a considerable sum of money for that purpose. One 
day, the Bishop of Lincoln, in the course of his 
pastoral visitations, came to Godstow, which was in 
his own diocese, between Oxford and Modestow. 
While praying before the altar, he was distracted by 
the sight of this curious funeral monument, and asked 
what it all meant. When the nuns told him who was 
buried there, he burst into indignant exclamations: 
" Take her away from here," he said, " her life was 
scandalous. Bury her outside the church in 
common graveyard. It will be a lesson to other 
women to lead chaste lives. Her presence here is a 

1 There seems to be absolutely no evidence for the assertion that 
Rosamund Clifford was the mother of Geoffrey, although many writers 
have repeated the statement. On the contrary, Walter Map, a contem- 
porary, tells us positively that the name of Geoffrey's mother was Hikenai 
(De Nugis Curialium, v. 6.), and Giraldus, another contemporary, describes 
Rosamund as puella in 1175, and assigns to that epoch her liaison with 
Henry. This last fact seems to be conclusive against the possibility 
of her being Geoffrey's mother, for Geoffrey was born more than twenty 
years earlier, in or about the year 1153. It is just possible that Geoffrey's 
interest in Godstow, shown by his attempt to make the nunnery of 
Clementhorpe dependent on it, may have suggested that he was the son 
of Rosamund. It may be added that there is an equal lack of evidence 
for the statement that Rosamund repented and did penance before her 
death. Both St. Hugh's action as described in the text, and the famous 
epitaph over her tomb rather suggest the contrary. The epitaph ran : 


Walter de Clifford, Rosamund's father, is known from a charter printed 
in I Higdale (iv. p. 366) to have left property to Godstow nunnery, "for 
the souls of his wife Margaret Clifford, and our daughter Rosamund," but 
this of course proves nothing. [Eo.] 


dishonour to religion." 1 The Bishop's command was 
obeyed, and the nuns thus atoned for a fault which 
they had committed, perhaps through a mistaken 
motive of gratitude. 

The Archbishop of York must have heard of this 
incident, 2 and he knew also how conscientiously the 
Bishop of Lincoln had already executed a Pontifical 
commission, which had for its object the annulling of 
several of his sentences of excommunication. 3 To 
escape from a judge whose sagacity and inflexibility 
he dreaded, he appealed to Rome, and left his diocese 
before the arrival of St. Hugh. But this emergency 
also had been anticipated and provided for in the 
Pope's Letter. In accordance with the instructions 
contained in it, the Bishop of Lincoln, accompanied 
by the two assessors appointed by the Pope, the 
archdeacon of Northampton and the Prior of Pontefract, 
assembled the Abbots and clergy of the diocese in York 
Cathedral. It was the 8th of January ? 1195, and after 
making the inquiries desired by Pope Celestine, Hugh 
fixed the ist of June following as the limit within 
which Geoffrey was bound to present himself before 
the Holy Father. 

This duty being accomplished he withdrew to his 
own diocese, and we do not even find that he was 
present at the Council of York, which was held on the 
i4th and i5th of June, under the presidency of Arch- 
bishop Hubert, in his capacity of Papal Legate. To 
the decrees passed by this assembly Hugh could not 
have been indifferent. They contain many excellent 

1 Roger de Hoveden, ad an. 1191 ; Ann. Ord. Cartus. vol. iii. 
p. 104. 

2 The fact that there is nothing to show that Geoffrey resented it 
affords further reason to believe that Rosamund was not his mother. 

3 Migne, P.L. vol. 206, col. 969; Jaffe-Lowenfeld, n. 16829 (February 
March, 1192). 


provisions for the reverent custody of the Blessed 
Sacrament, for the reform of the lives of the clergy, 
and for the suppression of various simoniacal practices, 
ending with the clause, " Saving in all things the 
authority and dignity of the Holy Roman Church." 1 
Hugh who was so keenly sensitive to all that affected 
the religious welfare of people and clergy, cannot have 
failed to rejoice over these measures of reform, and to 
congratulate the Archbishop on their promulgation. 

During this time, Geoffrey himself had obtained a 
new delay from Rome, and as he did not even then appear 
on the day fixed, his canons implored St. Hugh to use 
the power given him and to suspend their Archbishop. 
But Hugh wished to leave the responsibility of so grave 
a sentence with the Pope. " I would rather be 
suspended myself," he said, " than suspend another 
Bishop, in a case like this." 2 Doubtless with his usual 

1 These canons may be found in Hoveden, vol. iii., and of course in 
Wilkins and Mansi. Several of them only re-echoed the ordinances drawn 
up by St. Hugh himself, to which reference has been made in the note at 
the end of the last chapter. [Eo.] 

2 It is interesting to note that St. Hugh must have been well acquainted 
with Geoffrey. In 1189 he and Geoffrey, who was then Elect of York, 
attended William, the King of Scotland, to Canterbury, when he came to do 
homage to Richard on the accession of the latter (R. de Diceto, vol. ii. 
p. 72). In refusing to suspend the Archbishop in 1195, Hugh was probably 
influenced by his own personal knowledge of the many noble qualities in 
Geoffrey's character ; and it is a striking fact that in every case in which 
the Pope was not acting merely upon the report of others, but after a full 
examination of the cause, he seems to have decided in the Archbishop's 
favour. So it was in 1196, when Geoffrey at last went to Rome in person, 
so again in 1199, at the beginning of the reign of Innocent III., and so in 
1207, when the Pope put the Church of York under an interdict on account 
of the treatment of the Archbishop. That Geoffrey was violent and 
impracticable cannot be denied, but he had many redeeming traits, and it 
will always be remembered to his honour, that when all the other sons of 
Henry II. turned against him he alone showed him a constant and devoted 
fidelity. "Geoffrey seems," says Bishop Stubbs, "to have resembled 
Richard in his nobler traits and in his less repulsive faults ; to have been 
generous, impulsive, and open-hearted. But, like Ishmael, his hand was 


penetration he foresaw how the affair would end. The 
Pope did actually, it is true, pronounce sentence of 
suspension against Archbishop Geoffrey, and com- 
missioned St. Hugh to publish the sentence. 1 But, 
whether it was that some new testimony came to light 
in his favour, or whether he really gave serious signs of 
amendment, certain it is that, on betaking himself, to 
Rome, Geoffrey was fully reconciled to the Holy See, and 
released from all censures. The end of his life was a 
noble reparation for whatever irregularities there had 
been in the past. After obtaining the hearty support 
of Pope Innocent III. first against Richard and then 
against King John, he had to fly the country on account 
of his courageous defence of the rights of his Church, 
and died in exile in 1213. 

Of the edifying death of Hugh de Nonant, the 
Bishop of Coventry, something has already been said in 
an earlier chapter. This prelate also, and probably 
with much more serious reason, had given considerable 
anxiety to the Holy See. His own judgment of himself, 
in the remorse of those last months at Bee, was so 
severe, that he declared he would consider himself 
happy to purchase God's forgiveness at the cost of 
remaining in Purgatory until the Day of Judgment. In 
his case also, St. Hugh had been delegated by Pope 
Celestine III. to execute a sentence passed by the 
Supreme Pontiff. It would take too long to recount all 
the varying phases of the career of Hugh Nonant, and 
especially the details of the long campaign he carried 
on against his monastic Chapter of Coventry. One 

against every man and every man's hand against him. Otherwise he 
left behind him the reputation of personal temperance and a pure life." 
Preface to Hoveden, iv. p. Ixxvii. It was no small praise to say of one who 
was esteemed so worldly an ecclesiastic and who had so long delayed to 
take Orders : Vir quidem fuit magnce abstinently et sumitue puritatis. 
(Historians of the Churck of York, vol ii. p. 400.) [E.D.] 
1 Migne, P.L. t. ccvi. p. 1127 ; Jaffe, n. 17302. 


document issued by Pope Celestine and two by 
Innocent III., 1 are directed to the Bishop of Lincoln, 
associated in each case with the celebrated Samson, 
Abbot of Bury St. Edmunds, bidding them execute the 
mandate of the Holy See for the restoration of the 
Benedictine monks whom the Bishop of Coventry had 
forcibly ejected from his Cathedral Church, supplying 
their place with secular canons. [We do not know 
anything of the share which St. Hugh took in the 
execution of this commission. The Chronicle of Jocelyn 
of Brakelond perhaps not unnaturally represents the 
Abbot of St. Edmund's as playing the chief part, and 
as the only one of the commissioners who was really 
active in the cause of the expelled monks, 2 but we may 
be quite sure that these two fearless and upright men, 
who had so man}' good qualities in common, would have 
found themselves in substantial agreement in matters of 
principle. That they experienced no great difficulty in 
acting cordially together, may be inferred from the 
fact that they were associated again by Innocent III. in 
the commission appointed by him to give judgment in 
so extremely delicate and thorny a controversy as that 
between the monks of Christ Church and the Arch- 

1 Jaffe-Lowenfeld, n. 17600 (Dec. 29. 1197) ; Potthast, n. 253 (June 3, 
1198) and n. 588 (Feb. 3, 1199). 

- Hrakelond, in fact, asserts distinctly that the two most eminent of 
the three commissioners, viz : the Archbishop of Canterbury and the 
Bishop of Lincoln, hung back, as if they wished to curry favour with the 
secular clergy, and that Abbot Sampson alone was zealous in the cause of 
the restoration of the monks. His words are : " Convocatis ergo partibus 
apud Oxneford receperunt judices literas precatorias a domino Rege ut 
negotium illud poneretur in respectum. Archiepiscopo et episcopo dissi- 
mulantibus et tacentibus et quasi clericorum favorem venantibus, solus 
abbas aperte loquebatur, monachus pro monachis de Coventria, eorum 
causam publice fovens et defendens. " (Roll Series, vol. i. p. 295.) This may 
very easily have been true of Archbishop Hubert, but it seems unlikely 
that St. Hugh would have supported the cause of the intruded canons. 


bishop of Canterbury, then Legate, Justiciar, and 
Regent of the kingdom. But of this celebrated dispute 
we shall have to speak in a future chapter.] 

The causes hitherto referred to were famous and 
important quarrels in which the whole kingdom was in 
some measure interested, but we also meet with 
St. Hugh's name in connection with sundry minor 
commissions of the Holy See in which he acted as judge 
delegate, giving his time and thought ungrudgingly to 
see that right was done. One such case which has 
been preserved to us, was that of an ecclesiastic named 
William, in the diocese of York, whose enemies 
had violently ejected him from the church to which he 
had been instituted. The lord of the manor had put 
his own brother into the rectory thus vacated, and 
announced his determination of supporting the intruder 
by force of arms. What could the priest William do ? 
After finding that all his own efforts were in vain, he 
decided to commit his cause to the energy and sense of 
justice of the Bishop of Lincoln. When all others had 
turned their backs upon him, St. Hugh pronounced in 
his favour and lent him most effective support. In the 
Pope's name he pronounced sentence of excommunica- 
tion upon the intruding rector and all his abettors. 
Once more, the vengeance of God confirmed the verdict 
of His servant. Some of the guilty persons went out of 
their minds ; others perished by violent and sudden 
deaths ; others again lost their sight, by a disease in 
which they suffered agonies of pain. In the end, justice 
was done and the priest was reinstated in the church 
which was rightly his. 

On another occasion, two poor orphans appealed to 
Rome, and asked that their case might be judged by 
the Bishop of Lincoln. They had been unjustly 
deprived of the greater part of their inheritance, by a 
rich and influential man in London, named Jordan de 


Turri. 1 On the appointed day, this man appeared 
before St. Hugh. He was accompanied by a crowd of 
influential supporters, who audaciously forbade the 
Bishop to proceed with the case, and threatened him 
with the vengeance of the King, adding, it would seem, 
that if the Bishop persisted, the city of Lincoln should 
be made to feel the effects of their vengeance. The 
assessors who were trying the case with our Saint, were 
of opinion that it would be better to give way, but the 
Saint hardly seemed to pay attention to the advice they 
were proffering. He recollected himself for a few 
moments, to ask for guidance from on high, and then, 
inspired by the Father of orphans, he turned to Jordan 
de Turri, and thus addressed him : " Jordan, in spite of 
my affection for you, I cannot put your interests before 
the interests of God. It is true that neither these poor 
children, nor my colleagues, nor myself, can hope to 
gain anything in a struggle with you and your powerful 
friends. But I will tell you what I am going to do, I 
speak for myself only, but I want to discharge my 
conscience. I shall write to our Sovereign Lord the 
Pope, and tell him that you are the only man in this 
kingdom who dares to contest his jurisdiction, and that 
you alone are defying his authority." The Bishop 
as he expected, had no need to execute his threat, or 
resort to any extreme measures. Jordan was conquered ; 
he knew, says the author of the Magna Vita, what 
weight such a report would carry when it reached the 
ears of the Sovereign Pontiff. Hugh's reputation stood 
too high at Rome for his words to be disregarded. 
Jordan accordingly lost no time in coming to terms 

1 The name of Jordan de Turri uitrn appears in contemporary records, 
and he must have been an influential man. (Cf. Rotuli Curia Regis, 
1'alijruve, vol. i. pp. 232. 34 \, 420; Gr^ii Roll of the Pipe, Hunter, p. 225; 
Abbrcviatio PLiciturum, p. 8 ; Rotuli Charts nun, p. 155.) 


with the complainants, and St. Hugh held him 
rigorously to full restitution. 1 

It does not seem in any way strained to interpret 
this language of our Saint as a strong testimony of his 
loyalty to the Holy See. But as to that, there can be 
no better evidence than the fact that he was appointed 
one of the Papal delegates in every really momentous 
cause which came up for decision during the fourteen 
years of his episcopate. 2 


It is difficult to quit the subject of St. Hugh's various 
commissions as delegate of the Holy See, without a 
reference to the epoch-making articles of Professor 
Maitland which have appeared in the English Historical 
Review for 1896 and 1897, on " Canon Law in England." 
No one has before shown so clearly how irreconcilable 
are the real facts of ecclesiastical procedure in England 
previous to the Reformation with the " Continuity " 
theory now in favour among Anglicans. Ecclesiastical 
law, he has proved, in this country as in the rest of 
Europe, was not archiepiscopal law, but Papal law. So 
far from England standing apart from and unaffected 
by the pronouncements of the Bishop of Rome, the 
Corpus Juris Canonici is largely made up of decisions 
given in answer to appeals for guidance submitted by 

1 Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 13. 

2 Yet on the ground of his delaying to excommunicate the enemies of 
William of Longchamp, and his unwillingness to suspend the Archbishop 
of York both which acts were thoroughly justified by the subsequent 
action of the Pope himself Canon Perry can write : " Either therefore Hugh 
believed the charges (against Geoffrey) greatly exaggerated, or else in this 
as in the former case, he refused to be the minister of the Pope to interfere 
with the discipline of the Anglican Church. There was not indeed in spite 
of his monastic training much of the spirit of subordination in the Bishop 
of Lincoln." (Life, p. 261.) [Eo.] 



English Bishops. " Explain it how we may," says 
Professor Maitland, " the fact that more than a third 
of Alexander III.'s permanently important decretals 
have English cases for their subject-matter is, or ought 
to be, one of the most prominent facts in the history of 
the English Church. As a maker of case law, Alexander 
is second to no Pope unless it be to Innocent III., and 
a surprisingly large number of the cases which evoke 
case law from these two mitred lawyers are English 
cases." 1 

But what Professor Maitland more particularly 
insists upon is the importance of the doctrine of the 
Pope's universal jurisdiction, as every man's "Ordinary," 
when conjoined with the practice of delegation. It was 
universally recognized that the Roman Curia was not 
only an omni-competent court of appeal, but also an 
omni-competent court of first instance : in other words, 
that the Pope had an acknowledged right to take the 
trial of any ecclesiastical cause whatever out of the 
hands of the ordinary judges, the Bishops and Arch- 
bishops, and to try it himself at Rome or by his 
delegates here in England. It is these prerogative 
faculties which we have seen St. Hugh in this chapter 
so frequently invested with, and in this character of 
Papal delegate, the representative of the Holy See, 
were he but simple Abbot or Prior, stood above Bishop 
or Archbishop, wielding a power before which all other 
ecclesiastical authority must bow. " What we may 
call the natural order of the English Church is always 
being inverted, the last becomes first, the first last, 
when the Pope pleases. A cause which concerns the 
Archbishop of Canterbury will be committed to one of 
his suffragans, or (and this must be still more galling) 
to the rival primate." 5 

1 "William of Drogheda and the Universal Ordinary," English 
Historical Review, Oct. 1897, p. 640. 
a Ibid. p. 648. 


And yet, as Professor Maitland shows, this state of 
things was not merely acquiesced in in England, but it 
was largely the action of the English Bishops them- 
selves that brought it about. " If the Pope," he 
remarks, " acquired an almost unlimited power of 
declaring law, if all the important spiritual cases 
passed out of the hands of the ' ordinary ' judges into 
the hands of Papal delegates, the Bishops of England 
were more responsible for this good or bad result than 
were the Bishops of any other country." 1 Nor was 
this merely a matter of practical policy into which the 
prelates had been constrained by Papal usurpation. 
Theory went hand in hand with practice. " It is 
Grosseteste," Professor Maitland reminds us, " Grosse- 
teste, the theologian, the Bishop, the immortal Lin- 
colniensis, who will preach with fervour the doctrine 
that the whole of a Bishop's power is derived from, or 
at all events through, the Pope, and thus make all 
thought of federalism an impiety. The Bishop shines 
with a reflected light which will pale and vanish when- 
ever the Papal sun arises." 2 [Eo.] 

i P. 6 47 . 2 P. 635. 



ST. HUGH had yet another mission to fulfil, not only in 
his own diocese, but throughout the whole Church in 
England, of which at that epoch he was the most 
shining light. It was at the express command of the 
Holy See that he reluctantly undertook this new duty ; 
but he was also encouraged in it by God Himself, who 
sent him supernaturally a wonderful message, as we are 
now about to relate. 

In the month of November, in the year 1194 or 
HQ5, 1 and on the day after the feast of All Saints, 
a young cleric, about twenty-five years of age, was 
kneeling before an altar of the Blessed Virgin, devoutly 
reciting the Psalter for the souls of the Faithful Departed. 
The remembrance of his father, who had died only a 
few years before in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 
came vividly before him, and interrupted his prayer. 
He threw himself on his knees, while the tears gushed 
from his eyes, and poured out his soul to God. As he 
knelt on, still deeply moved, he distinctly heard a voice 
which seemed to come from the altar utter these words : 
" Rise, my son, and go at once to the Bishop of Lincoln. 
Tell him, from God, that he must urgently draw the 

1 There is nothing in the Magna Vita to determine the date of this 
vision. The Archbishop referred to in the course of it, however, must 
have been Hubert. This appears from what the biographer says in bk. v. 
ch. 5. In that case the vision cannot have taken place before 1193. 


attention of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the state 
of the clergy in England. Reform is grievously needed, 
and the Divine Majesty is deeply offended by innumer- 
able abuses. Sins of the flesh are rife and simony of 
all kinds. 1 . . . The vices of the shepherds are com- 
municated to their flock ; great and small are infected 
with the contagion, and the anger of God will soon fall 
upon the inhabitants of this kingdom. Nothing but a 
speedy punishment of the guilty can avert His wrath." 
Trembling with fear, the young cleric asked himself 
what this voice could be. Unable to solve the mystery, 
and attributing it to his own imagination, he determined 
to go on reciting the Psalter. 2 But as soon as he had 

1 I do not reproduce at length the terms in which, according to the 
Magnet Vita, the moral corruption and the avarice of the clergy were 
denounced by the heavenly voice. Under the sin of luxuries, with which 
the clergy are charged, any Englishman before the Reformation would 
of course have understood the maintenance by priests of wives, or rather 
focaricB or concubince, as the canons roundly term them. It is perhaps his 
obtuseness to this fact which permits Canon Perry to make the astounding 
statement : ' ' There is reason to believe that St. Hugh took a very common 
sense view of this matter (of clerical celibacy), and did not attempt any 
wild crusade against the uxorati sacer dotes" (p. 149.) Canon Perry, 
of course, refrains from explaining what ' ' reason to believe " this he has 
discovered. Certainly it is extraordinary that if these were the views 
which were notoriously professed by St. Hugh, he should have been 
singled out as the one Bishop in England capable of inaugurating the 
moral reformation of the clergy. [Eo.J 

2 There are several points in this narrative, as recounted in the Magna 
Vita, which are of interest to students of the ecclesiastical usages of the 
middle ages. In the first place, we learn that there was a custom of 
reciting not merely the Office for the Dead, but the entire Psalter, on 
All Souls' Day, and this not merely for monks in monasteries or canons in 
collegiate churches, but for individual clerics residing apart. The cleric, 
in his narrative, explains that he had already got as far as the loist Psalm ; 
and he was presumably going on to the end : ego siquidem priusquam heec 
audirem psalterio jam excurso usque ad centesimum primum psalmum, &c. 

Secondly, the cleric describes himself as singing the Psalter, cum 
psalterium decantarem, but from the fact that he was alone in the church, 
and from what follows, it appears that he was only reciting it aloud. 
Hence we may reasonably infer that the word cantare, when used either 


made the sign of the Cross, and repeated a few verses, 
he heard the voice once more saying in the same tone 
exactly the same words. Then the cleric thought that 
some mysterious council was being held, upon which 
he had no right to intrude, and, though he could see no 
one, he rose to leave the church. But at the door he 
was stopped by a pious woman who was continually 
praying there. She said to him : " God has spoken to 
you twice, and has given you a command which I do 
not understand ; but I am quite certain of the fact that 
God has spoken to you." Still more troubled by this, 
the young ecclesiastic left the church, and passed the 
rest of the day in fasting and prayer. No sooner had 
he lain down to sleep, than he again heard the same 
mysterious voice saying to him : " It is to you I speak, 
my son, who are now taking your rest : go as soon as 
possible to the venerable Bishop of Lincoln, and tell 
him what I have twice already said to you." " But," 
objected the cleric, "how can I expect so great and 
distinguished a man to listen to me ? I am too young 
and inexperienced. I hardly dare to address him." 
" He will believe you at once," replied the voice ; " you 
need only tell him what you will see upon the altar 
during his Mass, on the very day you first come into 
his presence ; and that will fully confirm the truth of 
your message. Hesitate no longer, but do as you have 
been bidden." 

The cleric promised to obey. He slept for a few 
hours, rose before daybreak, and set off for the manor 
of Bugden, where the Saint was then staying. 

of Masses or psalms by mediaeval writers, is not always to be interpreted 

Thirdly, he tells us that he left the church, adorato Domino, signans 
mihi frontem. The rarity of such references to any salutation of the 
Blessed Sacrament, makes it seem worth while to call attention to this 
instance here. [Eo.] 


It was a Saturday. The choir of the church was 
filled with ecclesiastics who had come to assist at the 
Bishop's Mass. A party of monks had brought some 
vestments to be blessed, and a very beautiful chalice to 
be consecrated. Hugh complied with their request, 
taking occasion to commend the exquisite workmanship 
of the chalice and to reflect upon the indifference of so 
many priests, who spend all their revenues upon them- 
selves and nothing upon the service of the altar. Then, 
returning to the sanctuary, he began his Mass. The 
crowd of ecclesiastics assisted at it, and among the rest 
our cleric, charged with the heavenly message. He 
fixed his eyes on the Bishop and the altar, and waited 
for the promised sign. 

The Mass went on as usual, until the solemn 
moment of consecration came. As the man of God 
lifted the host a little from the altar and blessed it 
before pronouncing the solemn words which would 
convert it into the Body of Christ, the cleric saw in 
the same instant a little Child, very small but of Divine 
and entrancing beauty, resting in the Bishop's hands. 
He burst into tears, and adored the Infant-God, who 
thus manifested His Real Presence in the Mystery of 
the Altar. The apparition was renewed a second time 
when the Sacred Host was raised again, just before the 
fraction which precedes the Communion. " In this 
elevation also," says the Magna Vita, " he beheld, under 
the same image as before, the Son of the Most High, 
born of the Virgin, offering Himself to His Father for 
the salvation of men." 1 

1 The minute description of this occurrence given in the Magna. Vita 
seems to me clearly to prove that no elevation of the Host, in the modern 
understanding of the term, was practised in the diocese of Lincoln at the 
date when it was written (c. 1214). The cleric sees the Infant first when the 
host is elevated from the altar before the consecration ubi elevatam in 
altum hostiam benedicere moris est max in Christi corpus mystica sanctifi- 
catione convertendam. He then continued shedding tears of devotion until 


As soon as the Mass was finished, the cleric 
approached the holy Bishop, and asked for an inter- 
view. St. Hugh took him behind the altar, and told 
him to speak freely. Then the young ecclesiastic faith- 
fully related all he had heard and seen, concluding 
thus : " I arrived just before the Introit of the Mass. 
I attentively watched your Holiness, 1 during the cele- 
bration of the Divine Mysteries, not forgetting to look 
at the altar also. And I clearly saw in your hands the 
Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the form of a 
little Child, whom you twice raised above the chalice. 
Surely, you yourself must have seen the same ; only in 
a much more perfect manner, because you were quite 
close to our Lord, and far more worthy to behold 

St. Hugh answered by mingling his tears with those 
of this holy youth. Then, after much pious conversa- 
tion, he dried his own eyes and those of his messenger, 
and embracing him tenderly, bade him speak of this 
marvel to no one else. He urged him further to enter 
a monastery, in order not to expose any longer to the 
dangers of the world the soul which had been favoured 
by that blessed vision. The young man promised to 
follow this advice. Then the Bishop led him to the 
refectory, placed him near himself during the repast, 

the Host was raised from the altar a second time, shortly before the 
fraction, when he was enabled to see the Divine Infant again tempus 
omne continuabat in lacrimis quod intercessit ab ilia elevatione usquequo 
iterum earn levari cerneret frangendam jam et sumendatn sub trina sui 
partitione. It seems to me quite incredible that the biographer could refer 
in such terms to these minute " elevations," if it had then been the custom 
to raise the Sacred Host above the head, as at present, to be adored by the 
people. (Magna Vita, p. 236.) [E.D.] 

1 The phrase, "your Holiness," was not at this period restricted by 
usage, as it is at present, to the person of the Pope. It may frequently be 
found in the letters of that age as a term of mere courtesy in addressing 
Abbots and Bishops. [ED.] 


and sent him away on the next day, with his blessing, 
to a monk who was one of his special friends. 

The new Religious lived a holy life in the cloister, 
where he was favoured with numerous other revela- 
tions, many of which were set down in writing by the 
order of St. Hugh, and were scattered far and wide. 
It was from the lips of this monk that the Bishop's 
chaplain and biographer afterwards gathered the facts 
which we have just been relating. 

Following the example set us in the Magna Vita, we 
may add the account of another Eucharistic miracle 
which afterwards gave the Saint an opportunity for a 
great act of faith. 

During his last journey in France, St. Hugh stopped 
at a little village called Jouy, between Paris and Troyes. 
According to his usual custom, he invited the parish 
priest to his own table. The priest declined the proffered 
honour, but made his appearance after dinner, to pay 
his respects to the Bishop, and also to speak to him 
of a wonderful thing which had happened to himself 
many years before. He was an aged priest, of venerable 
aspect, and bore in his emaciated body the marks of 
continued austerities. He respectfully saluted the 
Bishop, but had not the courage to address him 
directly, and therefore communicated the following 
facts to some of the clergy who stood around: 

" I was made a priest when very young, too young 
in fact, and I had the misfortune to commit a grievous 
sin, and the still more terrible misfortune to dare to say 
Mass without having purified my soul by sacramental 
confession. One day, at the very moment of conse- 
cration, I asked myself if it were possible that such a 
vile sinner as I, could indeed change the bread and 
wine into the Body and Blood of the God of all purity. 
The doubt kept haunting me all the Mass, until the 
moment came for the breaking of the Host, when 


suddenly, on separating the two fragments, Blood 
spurted out, and the portion of the Host I held in my 
hand assumed the appearance of Flesh, reddened by 
the Blood from the other half. I was overwhelmed 
with awe and terror; I let everything fall into the 
chalice. I covered the chalice with the paten, and 
the paten with the sacred pall, 1 and finished the Mass 
as well as I could. As soon as every one had retired, 
I reverently placed the miraculous Host in a fitting 
receptacle near the altar, where to this day It remains 
in the same state. I set out for Rome, and told the 
Pope all that had occurred, making full confession of 
my guilt to him, and receiving absolution. I beg of 
you, my brothers, to intercede for me with your 
holy Bishop, that he will grant me his prayers, 
and also that he will come to my church, bringing 
you all with him, in order to venerate our precious 

The clergy in attendance repeated these words to 
the man of God, expecting that he would at once order 
them to accompany him to the church, to view this 
miracle. But they were mistaken. St. Hugh simply 
said : " Very well. Let them keep, and welcome, the 
token of their want of faith. But why should we go 
and see it ? There is no need for us to see with our 
bodily eyes that which we see clearly with the eye of 
faith every day in the Mass." 

He gave his blessing to the parish priest of Jouy, 
and dismissed him. Nor would he allow any of his 
own clergy to satisfy their curiosity. " No," he said, 
" the things of faith we believe with a certainty which 
is even higher and stronger than the facts which we 

i Sacra palla. I am unable to say whether this was really what we 
now call a pall, or whether the writer uses the term to describe the 
corporal. [Eo. J 


perceive by our bodily senses." 1 His burning words had 
an effect which he never intended. They confirmed 
the suspicions which his chaplain and other intimate 
friends had long entertained of the supernatural visions 
by which he was favoured at the altar. 2 

We can well understand the reasons for the silence 
he always observed on this subject. His intense 
humility naturally induced him to conceal the Divine 
favours which were bestowed upon him, and he also 
doubtless felt, with St. Peter, that the " prophetical 
word," i.e., the word of revelation, was a better ground 
of faith than even the testimony of a vision. 3 

Nevertheless, the holy Bishop of Lincoln is one of 
those whom the Church delights to honour as in a 
special manner associated with the Blessed Sacrament, 
and as rewarded by the deeper consolations of a super- 
natural insight into this mystery. He is represented 
in sacred art, holding a chalice, above which appears 

1 A similar fact is related of the hero of the crusade against the 
Albigenses. One day some persons came hastily to tell the Count de 
Montfort that the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ had appeared 
visibly upon the altar, in the hands of the priest. ' ' Those of you who 
have no faith," he said, "had better go and see it. I have no wish to see 
it, for I firmly believe all that the Church teaches with regard to the 
Sacrament of the Altar." 

2 Magna Vita, bk. v. chs. 4, 15, and 18. Canon Perry, Mr. Froude, 
and other Anglican writers, lay great stress upon the incident recounted 
above, and quote it as evidence that St. Hugh rose superior to the super- 
stitions of his time and was no believer in miracles. The keenness of the 
Saint about accumulating relics, which was carried, as we shall see, to such 
a point that he almost scandalized his own contemporaries, would alone be 
a sufficient refutation of this hasty inference. To myself, a careful perusal 
of the story of the priest of Jouy, as told in the Magna Vita, only suggests 
that St. Hugh shrewdly suspected an imposture, though he was too 
charitable to publish his suspicions without fuller evidence. No well- 
instructed Catholic, however convinced he may be of the reality of the 
miraculous powers enjoyed by the Saints, would hesitate to allow that the 
mediaeval readiness to recognize a miracle in every unusual event also gave 
occasion for many deplorable impostures. [ED.] 

* 2 St. Peter i. 19. 


the form of a little Child. 1 And this symbol harmonizes 
well with the other which specially belongs to him, and 
of which we have spoken before. The swan at his feet 
is an emblem of his purity and courage ; the chalice in 
his hands shows the source from whence all his virtues 
sprang. It was from the altar, in very deed, that he 
drew the strength of his supernatural life ; it was the 
Bread of the strong which filled him with undaunted 
courage ; it was the Wine which makes virgins that 
inspired his angelic chastity. Supported by his devotion 
to the Holy Eucharist, he could rise superior to all 
trials and discouragements. We have a new proof of 
this which now claims our attention. It was at church, 
and during the Holy Mass, that Hugh of Lincoln was 
to gain his most splendid victory over Richard Cceur 
de Lion. 


The reader who has followed the story of the cleric 
recounted in the earlier part of the foregoing chapter 
may possibly be tempted to ask whether anything is 
known of the revelations which are said to have been 
written down by the order of St. Hugh, and which 
afterwards, according to the Magna Vita, were widely 
circulated in England. It is satisfactory to be able to 
answer this question in the affirmative. The revelations 
exist and have long been accessible in print in an 
abridged form, though I do not think that up to the 
present time the name of St. Hugh of Lincoln has ever 
been connected with them. 

In the Flores Historiarum of Roger of Wendover, and 
again in the Chronica Major of Matthew Paris, there is 

1 In the church of the Carthusian monastery at Pavia there is a superb 
rendering of this theme painted in fresco by Carlo Carlone. The Infant 
Jesus appears to St. Hugh during the Mass, the swan stands beside him, 
and above are a group of admiring angels. 


given under the year 1196, a rather lengthy document 
which is described as a vision of the future state by a 
certain monk of Eynsham. In its general features the 
vision belongs to a class of which a good many examples 
were current in the Middle Ages, beginning with the 
apocryphal "Apocalypse of Peter" and "Acts of 
Thomas" in sub- Apostolic times, and culminating, it 
may be said, in the Divina Commedia of Dante. 1 Bede, 
as is well known, incorporates in his History two 
notable revelations of this kind, those of Fursa and 
Drythelm, and there were several others popular at a 
later date. In the actual lifetime of St. Hugh I do not 
know of any English vision which became famous 
except that of the monk of Eynsham, certainly of none 
that was anything like so widely disseminated. This 
fact alone might have been sufficient to suggest that 
the clerk who conceived himself entrusted with a super- 
natural message for St. Hugh, and who afterwards by 
his direction entered a monastery, may have been no 
other than the recipient of the visions which became so 

<f nearer examination makes the case more probable. 
Ralph of Coggeshall, a contemporary, who also gives 
a brief account of the revelation in his chronicle, tells 
us that the Eynsham monk was " young in age though 
a veteran in regularity of life," and that he had but 
recently 'quitted the world for the cloister. Again we 
have to remember that the Abbey of Eynsham was 
in St. Hugh's diocese, and that at the date of these 
visions (1196), the Saint, as we have seen above, was 
brought into very intimate relations with the monks on 
account of the death of the Abbot in the previous year, 
and his own most energetic efforts to keep the abbey 
from falling into the King's hands. We may safely 
assume that nothing could have happened and no 
1 See Alessandro d'Ancona, / Precursors di Dante. 


considerable document have been given to the world 
at Eynsham in 1196 without St. Hugh being aware of 
it. Lastly, we know that Adam, St. Hugh's chaplain, 
the author of the Magna Vita, became Abbot of 
Eynsham, and that he had also probably been a monk 
there before his elevation to the higher dignity. When, 
therefore, he tells us that he had frequently heard all 
the details of the story from the person who had seen 
the little Child in St. Hugh's hands, and when we find 
that the purport of the Divine message to St. Hugh is 
also practically the theme of the Eynsham monk's 
disclosures about the punishments of the world to come, 
the suspicion becomes very strong that the recipients 
of these two supernatural communications must be one 
and the same person. 

An important piece of evidence which I have 
recently found quoted in Mr. H. L. Ward's Catalogue 
of Romances at the British Museum, converts this con- 
jecture into a certainty. In a thirteenth century 
manuscript x belonging to our great national library, 
there is contained an account of the vision of Hell, 
Purgatory, and Paradise, seen by one Thurkill, a 
husbandman of Essex, in the year 1206. The author or 
editor of this account, as Mr. Ward has shown, 2 is no 
other than Ralph of Coggeshall, the chronicler, and he 
has prefixed to the narrative itself a preface in which a 
few comments are made upon some earlier visions of the 
same class. 

"And yet another vision," he says, "has been 
clearly recorded which was seen in the Monastery of 
Eynsham in the year 1196; and Adam the Subprior of 
the monastery, a most grave and religious man, wrote this 
narrative in an elegant style, even as he heard it from 
the mouth of him whose soul had been set free from the 
body for two days and nights. I do not believe that 
i Royal, 13, D. v. - Vol ii. p. 507. 


such a man, so religious and so learned, would have 
written these statements until they had been sufficiently 
tested; he being at that time moreover chaplain to 
Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, a most holy man ; and 
Thomas Prior of Binham [in Norfolk] , who was then 
Prior of Eynsham, and who examined the evidence 
closely, has since assured me that he feels no more 
doubt of the truth of the vision than of the Crucifixion of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. And so much I have wished to 
say because many of the Eynsham monks decry the 
vision ; but every revelation is doubted of by some." 

From this most interesting statement of Ralph 
Coggeshall, we learn therefore that the Latin account of 
the vision of the Eynsham monk was drawn up before 
St. Hugh's death and by no other than his own chaplain 
Adam, the author of the Magna Vita. Can any doubt 
be felt that these were the revelations which were " set 
down in writing by the order of St. Hugh," after much 
converse between his chaplain and the monk who 
received them ? l 

To give any adequate account of the vision itself 
would be impossible in the space at my disposal. 
Curiously enough the only unabridged text now 
accessible in print, is an English version, edited by 
Professor Arber, from a very rare volume which issued 
from Macklinia's Press about 1482. The Latin account 
which appears in Wendover and Matthew Paris is very 
much contracted, and it omits nearly all those personal 

1 The passage in the Magna Vila runs thus : After telling us that the 
young cleric, becoming a monk soon after, religiose admodum conversatus 
est, the author goes on : " Cui plurima quoque spiritualium visionum. 
mysteria postmodum fuiss'e revelata certissime experti sumus, ex quibus non 
pauca literis dudum de- mandato sancti prassulis tradita, longe lateque 
vulgata noscuntur. A cujus ore hsec ipsa quae modo retulimus frequenter 
audivimus." (Magna Vita, p. 241.) The certissime experti sunms must 
surely imply intimate personal relations between the writer and the 
percipient of the vision. 


and historical details which form the chief interest of 
the vision, preserving only the account of the trance 
itself, and the more general descriptions of purgatorial 
torments and the scenes in which they took place. The 
Vision draws a very sad picture of the moral state of 
many of the clergy of the time, but in this respect it is 
in thorough accord with the statements of Giraldus 
Camhrensis and Wireker, and with what may reason- 
ably be inferred from Papal pronouncements and the 
canons of the various provincial synods. Perhaps it 
may be interesting to quote the monk of Eynsham's 
account of the state of suffering in which he beheld 
some of those high personages well known to St. Hugh, 
whose names have been most frequently cited in the 
course of this history. And first for the King Henry II.: 


But what shall I say of a certain Prince and sometime 
King of England that I saw, the which in his life was full 
mighty among all the princes of this world. Soothly he was 
on every side pressed and pained, that a man might say of 
him, as St. John the Evangelist saith in his Apocalypse 
thiswise: Quantum se dilatavit et in deliciis /nit, tantum dctnr 
ei tormentum et luctus. That is to say, "How much he did 
extend and magnify himself and was in unlawful lusts 
and delights, so much give ye to him torment and heavi- 
ness." Who is it that may conceive in mind what great 
pains all his body and limbs were smitten with ? He sat 
upon an horse that blew out of her mouth and nose a 
flame black as pitch, mingled with a smoke and stench of 
Hell, unto the grievous torment of him that was set above 
the which was armed at all pieces as he should have gone 
to battle. Truly the armour that he wore, was to him 
intolerable pain, for they were as bright burning iron is, when 
it is beaten with hammers and smiteth out fiery sparkles, 
by the which he was withinwards all to-burnt, and without- 
wards the same armour burnt in full great heat, and loaded 
him that wore it with full sore burden. ... In sooth he 
would have given all the world if he might have been 


delivered from one spur with the which he was compelled 
to stir his wretched horse to run, whereby often-times he 
fell down headlong. . . . Thus cruelly was he punished for 
the unrightful shedding of men's blood and for the foul 
sin of adultery which he used. In these two things he 
deadly offended often-times, and those cruel tormentors, 
wicked fiends, full greatly with derisions and scorns up- 
braided him because he would be avenged on men that 
slew his venery, as hart and hind, buck and doe, and such 
other, the which by the law of nature ought to be slain to 
every man, and therefore some of them he put to death, or 
else cruelly would maim them : and for all this he did never 
but little penance as long as he lived. Also full miserably 
he complained that neither his sons, nor his friends the 
which he left alive and to whom he had got much temporal 
goods, did or showed for him anything after his death for his 
help and relieving. Nothing, he said, my sons and friends 
have done for me in these pains. . . . Truly I saw him 
somewhat eased and relieved of his pains only by the 
prayers of religious men to whom in his life for God he was 
full benevolent often-times, and thereby I understood 
specially that he hoped to be saved. Furthermore, besides 
all these things above said, full grievously he sorrowed and 
was pained, for because he oppressed divers times the people 
with undue taxes. 

Let me add to this what the Eynsham monk tells 
us of the condition in the next world of another old 
friend of St. Hugh, Reginald, Bishop of Bath, the 
same who had first brought him to England from the 
Grande Chartreuse, and had been the constant friend 
and champion of the community of Witham. 


Now as I remember four years ago a certain Bishop was 
chosen to be an Archbishop, but he was then hastily pre- 
vented by death, and so deceased and left both. Truly this 
Bishop was inwardly in his living full well disposed, and 
religiously. For he was pure and devout in heart, and clean 


of body, that by the use and wearing of a sharp hair shirt 
and other divers penances, tamed well his own flesh. He 
conformed his face and cheer, as it seemed, much after the 
behaviour of secular people, and to eschew and refuse the 
savour of vain glory the which is ever proud, an enemy to 
virtue; he showed always in words and countenance gladness 
and jocundness when he was withinwards contrite in heart 
and in his affections. 

Also this Bishop used, as it is said before, to punish as 
well his daily faults by the which in great cures and hard 
things he had offended, as he did other sins the which he 
had done in his young age, by divers chastisements and often 
weepings. Also in his office of bishopry he had offended 
grievously in many things by his negligence, as other Bishops 
did, of whom I have made mention above. Of this Bishop 
I heard now openly by the saying of many folk that by him 
miracles were showed and done after his death on sick people 
and feeble. And I suppose it is truth that our Lord did 
worship His servant 1 with such benefits to give others example 
and understanding, that the hard and clean living the which 
he lived inwardly pleased our Lord full well, the which 
beholdeth only men's hearts. Yet found I him soothly in 
^>ains, remaining to him without doubt full great meed and 
rewards in the everlasting bliss of Heaven. And he that 
believeth not them, the which are in the pains of Purgatory, 
some time to do miracles in this world, let him read the 
fourth book of the Dialogue of St. Gregory, and there he shall 
see more fully an example of this thing, showed and done at 
Rome of an holy man that was called Paschasius, a deacon. 

Very interesting also is the account given of Arch- 
bishop Baldwin of Canterbury, and his severe sufferings 
in God's prison-house. The Eynsham visionary does 
full justice to his "meek conversation" and life of 
penance whilst he lived in the cloister as a Cistercian 
monk. But with his elevation to the see of Canterbury, 

1 It would be hard to find a better illustration of the mediaeval meaning 
of the word worship, which has been a stumbling-block to so many. 1 1 
Christ could worship, i.e., honour His servant, Catholics need nut be 
afraid of "worshipping" our Blessed Lady. 


" alas for sorrow ! the more thereby he grew in the 
sight of the people, so much he fell and decreased in 
the sight of God." Most especially he is accused of 
neglecting his episcopal duties and of omitting to 
correct the vices of the clergy. " Unwisely he pro- 
moted full unworthy persons to benefices of the Church, 
and also he dreaded and was ashamed to execute the 
law for (fear of) displeasing the King, by whose favour 
it seemed he came to that dignity." He is therefore 
represented to us as suffering very cruelly in Purgatory, 
but still he finds favour and mercy by the special aid 
of St. Thomas of Canterbury on account of his partici- 
pation in the Crusade, and more particularly for the 
hospital for pilgrims to the Holy Land which he had 
founded in the East under the patronage of that holy 

Finally, I may conclude these extracts by a specimen 
of the descriptive powers shown by the Eynsham monk 
when, towards the end of his vision, he approaches 
the confines of Paradise. 


And while the holy Confessor St. Nicholas this wise spake 
yet with me, suddenly I heard there a solemn peal, and a 
ringing of a marvellous sweetness, and as all the bells in the 
world or whatsoever is of sounding had been rung together 
at once. Truly in this peal and ringing brake out also a 
marvellous sweetness and a variant mingling of melody 
sounded withal. And I wot not whether the greatness of 
melody or the sweetness of sounding of bells was more to 
be wondered. And to so great a noise I took good heed and 
full greatly my mind was suspended to hear it. In sooth 
anon as that great and marvellous sounding and noise was 
ceased, suddenly I saw myself departed from the sweet fellow- 
ship of my duke and leader St. Nicholas. Then was I returned 
to myself again, and anon I heard the voices of my brethren, 
that stood about our bed, also my bodily strength came again 


to me a little and a little, and mine eyes opened to the use of 
seeing, so as they saw right well. Also my sickness and 
feebleness by the which I was long time full sore diseased, 
was outwardly excluded and gone from me, and I sat up 
before you so strong and mighty as I was before by it 
sorrowful and heavy. 1 

In the Magna Vita, 2 the author, Adam, tells us that 
the same monk had prophesied that Jerusalem in their 
own time would be recaptured from the Saracens. In 
this case, as in the more famous instance of St. Bernard, 
the prophecy was destined to remain unfulfilled, but 
Adam affirms none the less his great confidence that 
the prediction will be verified. " We trust the more 
surely," he writes, " because many other things which 
have been shown to this monk beforehand as about to 
come to pass, have to our own knowledge been realized 
in due course as they were foretold." 

The name of this young monk, according to the copy 
of the Vision in Bodleian MS., Digby, 34, was Edmund, 
and this seems to have led to its being attributed by 
some ignorant copyists to St. Edmund Rich, Archbishop 
of Canterbury. Strange to say, it was to Eynsham that 
St. Edmund's father, a most holy man, retired with the 
consent of his wife shortly after the birth of the Saint, 
in order to end his days as a monk. He may possibly 
have known St. Hugh there, though he seems not to 
have survived many years. St. Edmund's two sisters 
became nuns in the convent of Catesby, a religious 
house probably founded in St. Hugh's time, and 
endowed by Philip de Essebi. St. Hugh's charter 
confirming the endowment is still extant. 

1 I have compared this printed English translation of Machlinia with 
the original Latin in MS. Cotton. Cleopatra, C, xi., and I find that it 
reproduces Adam's " elegant style " with reasonable fidelity. Several 
interesting editorial comments of his, however, are omitted in the English 
version. The Vision of the Monk of Eynsham is dealt with somewhat 
more at length in an article by the present writer in The Month for 
January, 1898. P. 242. 



IMMEDIATELY after the message from Heaven, which 
was confirmed by the apparition of the Child Jesus in 
the Sacred Host, St. Hugh lost no time in appealing 
to the Archbishop of Canterbury for stringent measures 
of reform. He implored his Primate to occupy himself 
less with State affairs, and far more with the urgent 
needs of his diocese and the whole Church in England. 
To this earnest request St. Hugh added the force of 
example, and applied himself still more assiduously to 
the work of reforming the abuses he found existing 
among his own clergy. His zeal, however, only offended 
the Archbishop, and on many occasions afterwards he 
manifested his resentment against St. Hugh. 

The threatened anger of God was not slow in 
falling upon the country. Terrible scourges devastated 
England. In 1196, after all the horrors of a famine, 
pestilence continued the work of destruction, filling all 
souls with terror, and causing many deaths. 1 Incessant 
wars continued during nearly the whole of the reign of 
Richard I., and although Normandy, and not England, 
was the theatre of these encounters, yet England 
suffered no less, as large sums of money were always in 
requisition, and the people were most cruelly taxed. 
Indeed, so tortured were they by these exactions, that 
an ardent demagogue, William Fitz-Osbert, surnamed 

1 William of Newburgh, bk. v. ch. xxi. ; Annales, Margan, p. 22, 
Burton, p. 192. 


Long Beard, nearly succeeded in raising a serious 
rebellion in London. All the skill and eloquence of 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, as Justiciar, were neces- 
sary to defeat this conspiracy; and all his energy 
was required to obtain the punishment of the famous 
agitator, not without his incurring the reproach of 
having violated the right of sanctuary. 1 

Unfortunately Hubert was always too much pre- 
occupied by the things of earth. As a mere secular 
administrator he was successful enough, and many of 
his reforms, such as, for instance, the adoption of an 
uniform standard of weights and measures, were of 
great utility to the nation. But as Primate and Legate 
of the Holy See, his thoughts were not sufficiently 
raised towards Heaven, and both the spiritual concerns 
of his diocese and the interests of the Church at large 
suffered proportionately. He gave a proof of this in 
the last month of the year 1197. The King had com- 
missioned him to raise more money, which was urgently 
needed for carrying on the war with Philip Augustus, 
and the Archbishop summoned a general assembly of 
all the bishops and barons of England, to meet at 
Oxford. The proceedings began by a speech from the 
Justiciar, who enlarged on the King's necessities, 
crippled as he was in the prosecution of the war by 
the lack both of men and treasure. After insisting 
upon the disadvantage under which Richard lay in 
fighting at so great a distance from his source of 
supplies, he concluded by inviting all present to 
suggest some effectual means of assisting their 
Sovereign at this crisis. It was soon seen, however, 
that he was really in no need of suggestions, but had 
come fully prepared with a plan of his own. This 
scheme, which was laid before the council by one of 
his friends, was that the English barons, the bishops 

1 Lingard, vol. i. ch. xiii. 


being included among the number, should raise a force 
of three hundred knights to fight for the King beyond 
the seas, and should provide the entire cost of their 
maintenance during twelve months. 1 

Then the discussion began. The Primate gave his 
opinion first, and, as might have been expected, 
accepted the proposition, declaring that he was ready 
to sacrifice his wealth and his life, if need were, in the 
service of his King. The next to speak, in right of his 
office, was Richard, Bishop of London ; but he only 
echoed the words of his Metropolitan, and raised no 
opposition to the scheme proposed. At last came the 
turn of St. Hugh. He recollected himself for a few 
moments, and then spoke his mind as follows : u You, 
my noble lords, who compose this assembly, know very 
well that I am a stranger in this land, and that I was 
dragged from the retirement of a cloister, to bear the 
burden of the episcopate. But having had committed 
to me, in spite of my inexperience, the care of the 
Church of my dear Lady, Mary the Mother of God, I 
have made it my duty to study closely the customs and 
prerogatives, as well as the burthens and responsibili- 
ties, of this Church, and up to the present time, for 
nearly thirteen years past, I have been faithful in 
observing them, not deviating in anything from the 
just precedents left me by my predecessors. I know 
that the Bishop of Lincoln is bound to furnish the 
King with a certain contingent of armed men, but these 
armed men are to be employed within the kingdom 
itself, and not for service beyond the seas. What I 
am now asked to do, is contrary to the ancient immu- 

1 The author of our French Life credits Hubert with the rather astound- 
ing proposition that each bishop and baron should furnish a force of three 
hundred knights. As the knights were to be paid three shillings a day, the 
burden of maintaining three hundred knights in all was sufficiently grievous. 


nities of the see of Lincoln, and rather than thus to 
fetter and enslave my Church, I am resolved to return 
to my own country, and to end my days in the desert 
solitude from whence I came here." 

The Primate was furious at this answer, but he 
hoped at least that no other prelate would dare to 
follow the Bishop of Lincoln's example, and so, sup- 
pressing his indignation with difficulty, he turned, with 
quivering lips (tremcntilms pva indignatione labiis) to ask 
the opinion of the Bishop of Salisbury. " My reply," 
said the latter prelate, " is in entire agreement with 
that of my lord the Bishop of Lincoln. I could not 
speak or act otherwise without grave prejudice to the 
interests of my Church." 

Then the Archbishop could no longer contain his 
anger. He addressed himself to Hugh, and after 
upbraiding him in the bitterest terms for his opposition 
to the scheme suggested, he declared that the council 
was at an end, and that the bishops and barons might 
return to their homes. 

A messenger, or rather three separate messengers, 
were despatched to the King, denouncing St. Hugh as 
the cause of the failure of the Oxford assembly. 
Richard, as might have been expected, was greatly 
enraged, and straightway ordered the confiscation of all 
the property of the Bishop of Lincoln, as well as of 
that of the Bishop of Salisbury. In the case of the 
latter prelate the decree was at once carried into effect. 
He was despoiled of his wealth, made the victim of 
a relentless persecution, and it was only after a long 
interval, on the payment of an enormous sum of money, 
that he succeeded in making his peace with the King. 1 

The mandates directed by the King against the 
holy Bishop of Lincoln, were quite as urgent, but in 

1 He left England for Normandy in the month of February, 1198, and 
did not return until the following June. (Annal. Wint. 303.) 


his case there was a stay of execution, resulting from 
the fact that no one dared to carry them out. The 
royal officials had a salutary dread of the effects 
popularly believed to follow the Saint's sentence of 
excommunication. They preferred to disobey the King, 
rather than run the risk of a sudden and terrible death. 
From the month of December, 1197, until the September 
of the following year, the officers of the Crown received 
frequent orders to proceed immediately with the con- 
fiscation of St. Hugh's possessions, but they always 
contrived to find excuses for delay, at the same time 
acquainting the Bishop with their embarrassment, and 
imploring him to go to the King in person in Normandy, 
in order to put an end to the prosecution directed 
against him. 

St. Hugh at. length yielded to their wishes, and set 
out for the famous Chateau Gaillard at Andely, where 
Richard then was quartered. On his arrival at Rouen, 
he was met by two of the principal nobles of the Court : 
William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke, who was after- 
wards Regent during the minority of King Henry III., 
and whose daughter married the brother of that King; 1 
and William, Earl of Albermarle. They tried to 
persuade the Bishop of Lincoln that it would be un- 
wise to expose himself to the King's anger, and begged 
him to accept of their services as mediators between 
him and his Sovereign. They reminded him how ill the 
Bishop of Salisbury had fared, and expressed their 
alarm lest he also should be made the victim of the 
King's resentment. But St. Hugh refused the help 
they proffered. " I thank you," he said, " from my 
heart for your devotion, but I will tell you why I 
cannot accept it. You are necessary to the King in 

1 This incident does not seem to be referred to in the very full and 
interesting Histoire de Guillaume le Marshal, now being edited by M. Paul 
Meyer for the Soci^te" de 1' Histoire de France. [ED.] 


his present trials and anxieties, for which I feel a 
true sympathy. To you, more than to any one else, he 
is hound by ties of gratitude ; and for that very reason, 
I do not wish you to plead my cause with him. In 
his present state of mind, he will either refuse to listen 
to you, and be angry with you also, so that you will 
feel less zeal in his service ; or he will listen to you, 
as a very great favour, and so consider himself absolved 
from any further obligation of gratitude. Therefore, 
you must content yourselves with telling him, from me, 
that I have come to Normandy expressly to see him ; 
and hope that he will accord me an interview." 

The two noblemen admired this reply, for they were 
capable of appreciating the spirit in which their offer 
had been met. They pressed the matter no further, 
but returned to the King and told him the result of 
their interview. Richard himself seems to have been 
impressed by the account which they gave him and, 
respecting Hugh as a foeman worthy of his steel, sent 
word to the Bishop of Lincoln that he would receive 
him three days later at his new castle on the rock of 
Andely. 1 

1 There can be no doubt that this was the famous Chateau Gaillard. 
Before this nickname came into general use, Richard's new fortress was 
almost invariably described amongst English writers by the phrase used 
both in the Magna Vita and by Giraldus, as novum castellum Rupis 
de Andeli. It will be found so designated in many documents in the 
Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normannia ; besides which the only great rock 
near Andely is that on which the Chateau Gaillard is built. It is a puzzle, 
however, to think where the chapel can have been which is here referred to. 
William Le Breton, Philippis, bk. vii. 1. 739, declares that the chapel of 
the castle was built by King John in 1202. There is a crypt, or under- 
ground chamber, still in existence, which tradition persists in calling a 
chapel, but it measures only thirty feet by sixteen, and besides this, the 
chapel alluded to in the Magna Vita was evidently upstairs vox ab editiori 
loco emissa. The building of the Chateau Gaillard in a single year is, 
perhaps, the most stupendous known example of mediaeval energy. No 
wonder Richard was proud of it. " I would take it," said Philip, " though 
it were built of iron." "I would defend it," said Richard, "if it were 


St. Hugh obeyed the summons. On the feast of 
St. Augustine, August 28th, he arrived at the castle. 
He was told that the King was then hearing Mass 
in the chapel, and at once proceeded to join him there. 
The Bishop's chaplains followed him trembling, but 
as they mounted the steps leading to the door, they 
were struck by the words of the chant which reached 
them from within. The choir were singing the 
prose for St. Augustine's feast, and the verse rang out : 
Ave, inclyte prasul Chvisti, flos pulcherrime ! " Hail, illus- 
trious Pontiff of Christ, flower of spiritual beauty ! " 
They took it for an omen. It seemed to be their own 
holy Bishop who was greeted with this outburst of 
encouragement and hope. 

Still more were they confirmed in this consoling 
thought when, as they entered the chapel, the choir 
continued : O beate, O sancte Augustine, juva catervam hanc 
" O blessed, O holy Augustine, take this troop under 
your protection." l Doubtless, from his throne in 

made of butter." And in the meantime the expenditure of money was 
enormous. Every time that the King looked round upon the prodigious 
mass of masonry with which he had girdled the great rock, his indignation 
must have blazed out afresh against the man who had successfully resisted 
his attempt to wring the sorely-needed supplies from his people in England. 
(Cf. Deville, Histoire du Chateau Gaillard, p. 41 ; CEuvres de Rigord et de 
G. le Breton, Edit. Delaborde, vol. i. p. 207 ; Viollet le Due, Dictionnaire 
d' Architecture, vol. iii. pp 82, seq.) [ED.] 

1 These lines are taken from the sequence, Adest nobis dies alma et 
magno gaudio plena, which is assigned for the Common of Confessors, in 
the Missals of Sarum and Rouen. It is curious, however, that the reading 
followed in the chapel at Andely agrees with that of none of the printed 
Missals. All the Sarum give O beate, O sancte N., laus tibi et gloria, or 
O beate, O sancte N., pro nobis supplied. In the Rouen Missal (1499) 
we find the reading salva catervam hanc instead of juva catervam hanc. 
On the other hand, in the Westminster Missal (Henry Bradshaw Society, 
vol. ii. p. 1048) the same sequence is assigned for the Common of a Martyr, 
and here the readings are in accord with what we find in the Magna Vita. 
Probably the use followed by the clergy in attendance on King Richard 


Heaven, the holy Bishop of Hippo listened to the 
prayer, and obtained a new victory for that city of 
God of which he wrote so eloquently and which he had 
so bravely defended. 

At this moment, the chapel presented a striking 
spectacle. The King was seated on his throne, near 
the door, facing the altar. He was surrounded by a 
brilliant group of courtiers ; amongst whom were to be 
seen two Archbishops and five Bishops two of them 
sitting on the steps of the throne. In all the pomp 
and splendour of royal state, Richard awaited the 
approach of the man who for nine months had set 
his will at defiance. St. Hugh drew near and made 
his obeisance. The King glared at him fiercely for a 
moment, and then turned away his head without a 
word. "My lord King," said the Bishop, "give me 
the kiss of peace." 1 Richard made no answer, but 

will have been that of Rouen. For the sequence, cf. Kehrein, Lateinische 
Sequenzen des Mitielalters, n. 438, where again the sequence Adest nobis 
is assigned to the Common of a Martyr. In the same volume will be found 
several "proper" sequences for St. Augustine's day, one of which, begin- 
ning Hujtis diei gaudia, throws light upon a curious gloss noticed by 
Mr. Dimock, Magna Vita, p. 250, note. [Eo.] 

1 It would seem that much importance was then attached to this 
formal token of amity. In the Life of St. Thomas of Canterbury we 
find that the negotiations for a reconciliation between the King and the 
Archbishop in 1169 were all but wrecked over the persistent refusal of 
Henry II. to concede this mark of courtesy and respect to his former 
friend. Henry was willing that his eldest son should give the kiss to the 
Archbishop in his place, but refused so positively to do so himself, that it 
was supposed he must have taken a solemn oath that he would never 
receive St. Thomas in osculu pads. Accordingly we have a letter to Henry 
from Pope Alexander imploring and exhorting him in the most impressive 
terms not to withhold this courtesy from the Archbishop, and intimating 
at the same time that he (the Pope) absolves him from his oath in case 
any such should have been taken by him. (Materials for the History of 
Thomas liecket, vol. vii. p. 206.) So it is common in the writers of the 
period to find them recording the fact that such and such distinguished 
men saluted each other /// osculo pads. It would be useless to multiply 
examples. [Eo.] 


kept his face coldly averted. Thereupon St. Hugh 
drew still nearer, took hold of the King's mantle, and 
shook it, saying : " I have come a long journey to find 
you, and I have a right to a salute." " No, you have 
not deserved it," said the King. " Yes, indeed, I have 
deserved it," said the Bishop, "come now, I insist 
upon your giving me the kiss you owe me." And as 
he thus spoke, he pulled the King's mantle so violently 
that he fairly shook him. Angry as he was, Richard 
was not proof against so intrepid ' a greeting. He 
smiled at last in spite of himself, and gave to his 
conqueror the salute he demanded. 

The witnesses of this strange scene could hardly 
believe their eyes. The Bishops hastily made room 
for the Saint to take a seat in the midst of them ; but 
he shook his head, and went straight to the altar, 
where he knelt down, with his eyes fixed on the ground, 
and his whole soul absorbed by the mysteries of the 
Holy Sacrifice. 

The King's eyes followed him, and found satisfaction 
in watching the humble recollection of his demeanour. 
Aided by the holy Bishop's prayers, he felt himself 
strengthened in new and happier dispositions. He 
would have been ashamed to be overcome by a powerful 
earthly rival ; he could not feel any shame at being 
vanquished by this humble servant of the King of 
kings. It was like Cosur de Lion to wish to make public 
manifestation of 'his change of feeling. So when the 
Agnus Dei was said, and the celebrant gave the kiss 
of peace to one of the Archbishops, whose duty it was 
to convey it to the King, Richard, instead of waiting 
in his place, descended from his throne and hastened 
to the altar-steps. There he received the instrument 
of peace from the Archbishop, kissed it reverently, and 
then communicated the salute, not by means of the pax- 
brede, but by the contact of his own lips to the Bishop 


of Lincoln. 1 It was as much as to say, remarks the 
narrator of this incident, that to the holy Bishop were 
due those marks of veneration and homage which were 
usually paid to the King himself. 

When the Mass was ended, St. Hugh sought an 
interview with his Sovereign, and gave him in a few 
words the explanation of all that had passed at Oxford. 
The King had no reply to make except to throw the 
blame on the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, he 
alleged, had misrepresented the Bishop's motives. 
St. Hugh on his side, emphatically repudiated any 
unfriendly intent. " Saving the honour of God, Sire," he 
said, " and the welfare of mine own soul and thine, I 
have never once even in the smallest particular gone 
counter to thy wishes." Then Richard offered the 
Bishop of Lincoln many presents, and begged him to 
take up his abode in the new stronghold of Port-Joie, 2 

1 The instrument urn pads, or pax-brede (pax-board), was a little tablet 
ornamented with a representation of the Crucifixion, or some other pious 
device, which was used to transmit to the congregation the kiss of peace, 
taken from the altar, or in the still more primitive usage, from the 
consecrated Host Itself. The celebrant kissed the Sacred Host or the 
altar, and then pressed his lips to the pax-brede, which was given to those 
assisting at the Mass to kiss in turn. It would appear from the account 
in the Magna Vita, that the kiss was brought from the celebrant to the 
King by means of the pax-brede, but that the King, as a mark of special 
respect to St. Hugh, dispensed with the pax-brede and kissed him on the 
cheek. I am not quite sure, however, whether the words, sigiuim fads, 
refer to the material instrumentum, or are only the equivalent of some 
such phrase as " the symbol of peace." From the version of the incident 
given by Giraldus (vii. p. 104), who entirely agrees \vith the .]/<///,/ Vita, 
we learn that the celebrant kissed, not the altar, but the Body of Christ. 

3 Mr. Dimock, and other writers who have copied him, are mistaken in 
supposing that Hugh was lodged at the Chateau Gaillard. The interview 
with King Richard seems to have taken place there, as has been already 
remarked, but the Magna Vita, p. 254. makes it clear that the King 
invited him to take up his quarters in another fortified place, which was 
quite distinct "a rege, hospitandi gratia, in castellum quod vocitabat 
I'ortum Gaudii, quod ipse recenter construxerat in quadam insula non 


which he had just finished building on an island in 
the Seine, and of which he was very proud. He also 
asked St. Hugh to return the next day, to receive fresh 
assurances of his favour. The good Bishop consented, 
but was resolved to lose nothing of the present 
favourable opportunity which the softening of the 
King's mood seemed to have thrown in his way. Boldly 
taking Richard by the hand, he led him behind the altar, 
and there making him sit down beside him, he began to 
speak to him as a real spiritual father. " My Lord 
King," he said, " you belong to my diocese, 1 and I feel 
that I am responsible for your soul to God, Who has 
purchased it by His Blood. I want you to make 
known to me then, what is really the state of your 
conscience, that, as your pastor, I may be able, with the 
aid of God's grace, to help you by my counsels. You 
may remember that a year has already passed, since I 
last spoke to you on this subject." 

The King probably had not forgotten the previous 
remonstrances of the holy Bishop, and was rather afraid 
of their repetition. He simply replied that his conscience 
was in a fairly good state, except that he felt a bitter 
hatred against the enemies who were endeavouring to 
compass his ruin. St. Hugh was not at all satisfied 
with this answer, and urged the King to a more 
thorough examination of his faults. " Your enemies," 
he said, " will easily be overcome, if you yourself are 
at peace with the King of kings. You have only one 

procul sita, destinatur." The writer was with St. Hugh during all these 
incidents, and cannot have been mistaken in saying that the place was 
called Port-joie, and was on an island. In the Rotuli Scaccarii Normannice, 
vol. ii. pp. xxxviii. xlii. , &c. , published by Stapleton, we may learn all 
about Port-joie, and we find that it was primarily intended as a royal 
residence, and was connected with the mainland by a revolving bridge, 
which last was only completed in 1198. [Eo.] 

1 Richard I. was born at Oxford, which was then in the diocese of 
Lincoln, in the year 1157. 


foe to fear, and that is sin ; the offences you commit 
against God, and the injuries you do to your neighbour." 
Then the Saint went on fearlessly to rebuke him for his 
infidelity to his wife, and for his persecution of the 
Church in the matter of canonical elections and 
nominations. " I am told," he said, " that you have 
no scruple in committing the cure of souls to men whose 
only merit is that they offer you rich gifts, or are your 
personal acquaintances. This is a grave crime, and as 
long as you continue to do such things, assuredly God 
will never be your friend." He continued with these 
fatherly admonitions, until he had clearly set before his 
Sovereign the duties of his state of life, just as he might 
have instructed any ordinary penitent in confession. 
Richard listened to him with respect, excused himself 
on some points, confessed his failings in others, and 
recommended himself to the prayers of the Bishop, who 
at length allowed him to retire, after giving him his 
episcopal blessing. 

While the Bishop, happy in the consciousness that 
he had spent the morning so profitably, withdrew to the 
apartments assigned for his use, 1 the King returned to 
his courtiers, and began loudly to sing the praises of 
his devoted admonitor. " Truly," he said, " if all the 
prelates of the Church were like him, there is not a 
prince or a King in Christendom who would dare to 
raise his head in the presence of a Bishop." Coming 
from such a man as Cceur de Lion, the remark speaks 
volumes. No wonder that St. Hugh was known in 
after-ages as "the Hammer of Kings." 

The day might naturally have concluded with this 
memorable eulogy. But some of the courtiers would 
have it otherwise. They advised the King to take 

1 We are told that Richard, knowing that St. Hugh never eat meat, 
had ordered a remarkably fine pike to be prepared for his dinner. (Girald, 
Vita S. Hugonis, i. eh. viii. ) 


advantage of this reconciliation, and to persuade 
St. Hugh to be the bearer of letters to the barons 
(magnatibus] of England, asking them to vote another 
subsidy. They said that such an unexceptionable 
messenger would ensure the success of his appeal, and 
that the Bishop would himself only be too glad of an 
opportunity to render a little service to his Sovereign. 

" But a net is spread in vain before the eyes of them 
that have wings." When the new project was 
communicated to St. Hugh, he positively refused to 
have anything to do with it. It was of no use for his 
own clergy to unite with the courtiers in begging him 
to gratify the King, in a matter which would cost him 
so little. "No," he said, "God forbid that I should 
be guilty of any such weakness. Not only should I 
have to do violence to my own inclination, but I should 
disgrace the office which I bear. A Bishop is not a 
courier to carry the King's messages, and I will not 
raise a ringer to co-operate in extortions of this kind. 
Do you not know, that when a King puts out one hand 
for alms, he holds a drawn sword behind his back with 
the other ? Such monarchs speak fair at first and 
make many promises, but in the end they wring from 
their people by harsh constraint, not what the subject 
was willing to give, but what the Sovereign thinks fit 
to demand. And moreover that which in the beginning 
was offered freely and spontaneously, is soon regarded 
as a right and to be extorted by force. No, I will 
never meddle with such things. I might perhaps gain 
the favour of my King, but I should most certainly 
incur the anger of the all-powerful God." 

So the courtiers gained nothing by this insidious 
suggestion. Hugh begged them to make the King 
understand that it was useless to insist ; Richard 
yielded at once, and for fear of again being drawn into 
some false step, he sent word to the Bishop that he 


was welcome in God's name to go back to his diocese, 
without any further delay, so that he need not even 
come to see him again on the morrow, as had been 
previously arranged. For this deliverance Hugh said 
a hearty Te Deum, and he joyfully set out at once on 
his return journey. 

He had not yet arrived in England, when Richard 
gained an important victory over Philip Augustus at 
the Battle of Gisors, fought on the 28th of September. 
The English King sent news of his success to all his 
friends, amongst whom the Bishop of Lincoln was not 
forgotten. In the letter he wrote to St. Hugh on this 
occasion, he again recommended himself to the prayers 
of the Saint, to the efficacy of which many of his barons 
attributed the victory. Richard may perhaps have 
remembered that it was after the pilgrimage of his 
father to Canterbury and his reconciliation at the tomb 
of the martyred Archbishop that the news reached him 
of the triumph of his arms over the King of Scotland. 
For the time being, at any rate, the King was on the 
best of terms with St. Hugh, and it would have been 
well if his fickle and violent character had allowed him 
to remain faithful to the impressions of that season of 


The incident narrated in the foregoing chapter has 
engaged the attention of more than one of our most 
distinguished historians, and they seem agreed in rating 
very highly the constitutional importance of St. Hugh's 
opposition to the royal demands. " This event," says 
Bishop Stubbs, "is a landmark of constitutional history ; 
for the second time a constitutional opposition to a 
royal demand for money is made, and made success- 
fully ; though it would perhaps be too great an antici- 
pation of modern usages to suppose that the resignation 


of the Minister [Archbishop Hubert] a few months 
later was caused by the defeat." 1 And again the same 
historian declares: "Whatever were the grounds of 
the opposition of St. Hugh, ecclesiastical or constitu- 
tional, ... it is the first clear case of the refusal of a 
money grant demanded directly by the Crown, and a 
most valuable precedent for future times." 2 Not less 
emphatic are the words of Professor Freeman. " In a 
great Council held at Oxford . . . the Saint of Lincoln, 
grown into an Englishman on English ground, spoke 
up for the laws and rights of Englishmen, as Anselm 
had done before him, and as Simon did after him. 
When Hubert, in the King's name, demanded English 
money to pay a military force for the King's foreign 
wars, he was met by the answer that the Church 
of Lincoln and its pastor were bound to do 
faithful service to their lord the King within his 
realm, but that no men or money were they bound to 
contribute for undertakings beyond the sea. . . . The 
opposition was successful, one of the great principles 
of English Parliamentary right was established by the 
holy man who, in his own words, had been brought 
from the simple life of a hermit, to exercise the rule of 
a bishop, and who had made it his duty in his new 
post to make himself master of all the laws and customs 
by which in his new office he would be bound." 3 From 
these conclusions, Mr. J. H. Round, in an article which 
appeared in the English Historical Review for 1892, after- 
wards reprinted in Feudal England, seems rather inclined 

1 Constitutional History, vol. i. p. 572. The first case of opposition to 
the King's will in the matter of taxation, which Bishop Stubbs here refers 
to, was the resistance made by St. Thomas Becket in 1163 to the payment 
of Danegeld. As " Danegeld appears for the last time under that name in 
the accounts of this year . . . the opposition would seem to have been 
formally at least successful." (Ibid. 523.) 

2 Stubbs, Preface to Hoveden, vol. iv. p. xci. 

3 Norman Conquest, v. p. 695. 


to dissent. At least he declares that the constitutional 
importance of the incident has been greatly exagge- 
rated. But even if we suppose with Mr. Round that 
St. Hugh took the narrowest ground and acted solely 
on behalf of ecclesiastical privilege, 1 it does not seem to 
me that the lesson taught by his example, and by the 
result, that as a matter of fact the King's proposals hail 
to be abandoned in consequence of the opposition 
which he raised, is any the less momentous in its 
bearing on our constitutional history. In any case, the 
answer returned by St. Hugh to the courtiers who 
pressed him to countenance the raising of a new subsidy 
or benevolence after his reconciliation with the King, 
makes it manifest that his opposition to the royal 
demands was by no means narrow and selfish, and that 
he had a sincere sympathy with the grievances of the 
people of England at large. 

Of much more value, as it seems to me, is 
Mr. Round's interesting paper in the same volume, on 
Richard I.'s change of seal. By determining the date 
of the introduction of the new royal seal, which must 
have occurred in the spring months of i i(j<S,- Mr. Round 
has leant very great probability to the suggestion that 
in the extreme financial straits to which St. Hugh's 
opposition at Oxford reduced him, the King had 
recourse to the desperate device of causing a new seal 
to be made, announcing his intention to repudiate all 
charters which had not been confirmed by it. It is 
true that " only a minority of the charters were ever 

1 I fully admit the value of Mr Round's citations from the Chronicle of 
Jocelyn de Brakelond as throwing light upon the scheme proposed in the 
Oxford assembly of December, 1197. The fact that Abbot Samson should 
have paid 36 marks for the support of his four knights for forty da\s, 
is in singular agreement \\ith the three shillings a day mentioned \>\ 
Hoveden as demanded by the King^ for their maintenance. {I'cudal 
En-land, pp. 532, 533. ) 

- In'tuccn April ist and May 22nd. {Feudal England, p. 545.) 


confirmed under the second seal," but Coggeshall tells 
us that the sum raised by this expedient was enormous, 1 
and it was probably only the King's death nine months 
afterwards which put a timely end to the exaction. We 
may perhaps hope that Archbishop Hubert's resignation 
of the justiciarship may have been brought about by 
his reluctance to take any active share in a proceeding 
which even his none too scrupulous conscience must 
have condemned as iniquitous. [Eo.] 

1 " Accessit autem ad totius mail cumulum, juxta vitas ejus (Richardi) 
terminum prioris sigilli sui renovatio quo exiit edictum per totum ejus 
regnum, ut omnes cartae, confirmationes, &c. , quae prioris sigilli impres- 
sione roboraverat irrita forent nee alicujus libertatis vigorem obtinerent nisi 
posteriori sigillo roborarentur. In quibus renovandis et iterum com- 
parandis innumerabilis pecunia congesta est." (Chronicon, R. Coggeshall, 
p. 93. ) It is curious that amongst the comparatively few extant charters 
renewed under Richard's second seal in 1198, there is a confirmation to the 
Abbot and monks of St. Albans of the privileges previously granted to 
them, prohibiting from entering on their lands any minister steward, 
butler, chamberlain, " dispensator," porter, or provost against the will 
and consent of themselves or their successors. The charter of which this 
is the confirmation was first granted by Richard at Garcinton, on Sept. 17, 
1190, when it was witnessed by Archbishop Baldwin, St. Hugh of Lincoln, 
and William Marshall. (Catalogue of Ancient Deeds, vol. i. A. 1056). 


THE interview between Richard and St. Hugh at 
the Rock of Andely is in some sense typical of 
the century which was to follow. It was to be an age 
when the rights of the Church would be recognized as 
they had never been recognized before, and when a 
succession of Popes would occupy the Chair of St. Peter, 
who would treat with the proudest monarchs of 
Christendom on a footing of more than equality. The 
greatest of these was the pontiff whose accession 
inaugurated the new era, even before the twelfth 
century had quite drawn to a close. Pope Inno- 
cent III., who was elected on January 8, 1198, stands 
pre-eminent for vigour and ability amongst all the 
rulers of his time. Both by the verdict of his contem- 
poraries, and in the judgment of history, he did more 
to make the Papacy respected than any pontiff since 
the time of Hildebrand, and for centuries afterwards. 
In every quarter of the Christian world, and in every 
department of Church government, his influence was 
felt, and the impression which he produced was so 
profound that no lapse of time has been able to 
efface it. 

In the early years of his pontificate, the design 
which Innocent had most deeply at heart was the 
restoration of harmony among the princes of Western 
Europe. Without peace in the West, the reconquest 


of the East was impossible. It was not long, there- 
fore, before the internal concerns of England and 
France engaged the attention of a Pope who had no 
scruple in saying: "Princes rule over provinces, and 
Kings over kingdoms ; but Peter rules over all, by 
reason of the extent and fulness of his power ; for he 
is the Vicar of Him to whom belongs the whole earth 
and all those who inhabit it." 1 

In the very first months of his pontificate, Inno- 
cent III. addressed an important letter to the King of 
France ; and immediately afterwards, another to the 
King ol England. To the latter he sent four rings of 
gold, 2 set with precious stones, and he expounded their 
signification in the following terms: "These rings are 
round, and are thus a symbol of eternity, which has 
neither beginning nor end. Let their shape remind 
your Royal Wisdom, to rise above earthly things to 
the contemplation of the things of Heaven, and from 
that which is transitory to that which is immutable and 
everlasting. Again, the rings are four in number. Four 
is a square number, and is significant of that even 
balance of the soul which is not cast down by adversity, 
nor too much elated by prosperity, being stable in its 
possession of the four cardinal virtues prudence, 
justice, fortitude, and temperance. The first ring I 
would have you take as the symbol of justice, that you 
may keep that virtue ever before your eyes in your 
dealings with your subjects. The second should stand 
for fortitude, which you will need to support you in 
time of trial. The third represents prudence, which 
must be your guide in all difficulties. The fourth 

1 History of Innocent III. By Hurter. French Translation, vol. i. 

P- 2 75- 

2 One of these rings seems to have been given by Richard to Samson, 
Abbot of Bury St. Edmunds, who had quarrelled with the King and 
afterwards had been reconciled with him, something as St, Hugh had been. 
(See Jocelyn de Brakelond's Chronicle, ) [ED, ] 


temperance, your constant monitor in prosperity." 1 
And from this beginning Pope Innocent goes on to 
explain the mystical meaning of the gold of which the 
rings were made, and of the various precious stones 
with which they were set. But it is hardly necessary 
to quote his epistle further. It is chiefly interesting as 
an illustration of the curious allegorical interpretations 
which then found favour with men of letters; and 
Richard, who himself dabbled not unsuccessfully in 
verse-making, will no doubt have been duly apprecia- 
tive of the pontiff's ingenuity. 

But the Pope had something more serious in mind 
than to flatter Richard's vanity or to gratify his taste 
for literary conceits. In other letters Innocent III. 
used every argument to persuade the Kings of England 
and France to give up their private quarrels, and cease 
warring upon each other, in order to make common 
cause against the infidels. He even threatened to 
lay an interdict upon the kingdom of that monarch 
who should refuse to be reconciled with his brother 
Sovereign. In this way he succeeded at last in inducing 
both Kings to accept the mediation of his Legate, Peter 
of Capua, 2 with the result that a truce was signed 
between them for five years. 

During these negotiations the Pope did not lose 
sight of any matter of importance which regarded the 
interests of God and His Church. At one time he 
was engaged in warmly defending the cause of the 
unhappy Ingelburga, the divorced Queen of Philip 
Augustus ; at another he protested in the strongest 
terms against the King of England's violation of the 
ecclesiastical canons, requiring prompt reparation for 

1 Innocent III. Epistolce, bk. i. p. 206 ; Hurter, loc. cit. p. 117. 

2 The details of this negotiation are given with considerable fulness in 
the metrical Histoire de Guillaume Le Marie ha I, Kd. Paul Meyer, vol. ii. 
pp. 44, seq. See also/?/. de I'Ecole des Ch.n-tc*, NT. ii. vol. i. p. 22, seq. [Eo.] 


the encroachments of which he complained ; at another 
time again he turned a watchful eye upon the internal 
dissensions of bishops and religious bodies, intervening 
with happy results where he detected abuses, and 
showing a singular discernment in the choice of his 

Among the various ecclesiastical disputes going on 
at that time in England, the only one with which we 
are immediately concerned is the long-standing quarrel 
between the Archbishop of Canterbury and the monks 
of his Cathedral Chapter. The settlement of this 
important suit had been committed by the Pope to the 
care of the Bishop of Lincoln, and as Pope Innocent 
himself took a personal interest in the proceedings, the 
appointment is probably to be regarded as a mark of 
his special confidence in St. Hugh. 

Hubert Walter, elected Archbishop in 1193, un- 
deterred by the failure of his predecessor Baldwin, 
and by the singular fulfilment of our Saint's forebodings 
already referred to in an earlier chapter, had revived 
the scheme of a memorial church to SS. Stephen and 
Thomas, which was so bitterly resented by the Christ 
Church monks. The edifice erected by Baldwin at 
Hackington near Canterbury had been razed to the 
ground by order of the Holy See. But another similar 
church was constructed by Hubert in 1198 at Lambeth, 
on the south side of the Thames. Begun under the 
unassuming name of chapel this building bid fair to 
grow into a new Cathedral, a rival of the ancient 
Minster of Canterbury. It was a collegiate church, 
served by secular canons, for whom a permanent 
residence was provided within the precincts of the 
sacred enclosure. 

The Canterbury monks were persuaded, and not 
without reason, that this new church was an encroach- 
ment upon their immemorial rights, and seriously 


threatened the privilege which they claimed of electing 
the Archbishop. They, therefore, appealed to Pope 
Innocent III., who showed himself anxious to bring 
this long-standing grievance to a settlement. 1 

Accordingly, on April 24th, 1198, a Papal rescript 
was issued commanding Hubert to abandon his plan, 
to destroy the buildings he had erected, and to restore 
to the monks all the revenues of which they had been 
unjustly deprived. In the case of his resisting the 
execution of the mandate, his suffragans were ordered 
to refuse him obedience. It happened that shortly 
after these letters reached England the Bishops 
assembled at Canterbury for the consecration of the 
new Bishop of Coventry. They considered it right 
to lay before the Pope certain representations in favour 
of the metropolitan, and united in sending a petition 
asking for stay of judgment until the case had been 
more fully investigated. 

Certainly St. Hugh was not prejudiced in favour of 
the Primate, but he did not refuse his signature to the 
letter by which this petition was conveyed. It is 
possible that in the profoundly respectful tone of its 
opening and concluding sentences we may trace the 
hand of St. Hugh himself. 2 

" To our Reverend Father and Lord Innocent, 
Supreme Pontiff, the suffragans of the church of 
Canterbury send greeting. 

" We return thanks to the Giver of all good gifts 

1 The facts of this complicated dispute which are very imperfectly 
summarized above are given in detail in Bishop Stubbs' Preface to Epistola 
Ciintniirit'nses (Rolls Series). I should be far, however, from endorsing 
the many reflections unfriendly to Papal jurisdiction with which Bishop 
Stubbs seasons his narrative. [En.] 

!! St. Hugh seems to have been almost as inveterate a punster as Pope 
Gregory the Great, and the play upon the name of Innocent is quite in his 
style. [ED.] 


who in founding His Church upon Peter foretold that 
his brethren were to be confirmed in Peter, and in 
his successors through him. Hence while we learnt 
with distress of the decease of Celestine III. of happy 
memory, the news of your election which followed upon 
it has dispelled the cloud of our sadness and brought 
back the longed-for sunshine. God has not left us 
orphans, He who has raised up sons in the place of 
their fathers, and Nazareans 1 in the room of the Saints. 
We rejoice in His goodness that from your earliest 
years He has prepared you and endowed you for this 
sublime dignity (ad tantce mysterium dignitatis), in such 
a way that, after God the welfare of the Church rests 
entirely upon you, and that those of her members who 
have grown sickly and diseased may under this Innocent 
whom Heaven has bestowed upon them be restored to 
their former health, and become innocent of harm." 

The Bishops then put forward four principal reasons 
which have led them to believe that His Holiness in 
issuing his mandate had not fully been put in posses- 
sion of the facts of the case, many circumstances 
having been withheld from his knowledge by the envoys 
of the monks. Then after insisting upon the willingness 
of the Archbishop of Canterbury to accept the Pope's 
decision whatever it may be, and after dwelling on 
the danger that the dispute may widen the breach 
which is already perceptible between the Crown and 
the clergy (inter regnum et sacerdotium) in England, the 
Bishops conclude with the following profession of their 
allegiance : 

" It is for you then, most dear Father in Christ, to 
acquaint yourself with the true circumstances of the 
case, and then to decide as it shall seem to you expe- 
dient. Be assured that whatever you may determine 
l Cf. Amos ii. 11, 


will be carried out by the Lord Archbishop and by 
ourselves, with loyal and devoted affection. And if 
your Holiness should think our testimony for any 
reason unconvincing, may it please you to commit 
to any others whom you may select the fuller investi- 
gation of the truth, and upon their report to pronounce 
and determine what your Sublimity shall know to be 
the will of the Most High." 1 

The King himself wrote to the Pope to much the 
same effect, and he was supported by the Cistercian 
Abbots in England, who all spoke in praise of Arch- 
bishop Hubert. Innocent III. gave his consent to a 
new investigation of both sides of the question, but 
these further inquiries resulted none the less in a con- 
firmation of the former sentence. In communicating 
this decision to the Archbishop, he exhorted him to 
submission in these kind and paternal words : 

" Let it not distress you, dear brother, if our con- 
science compels us to act as we have done. God is our 
witness that we have been swayed by no motive of 
passion, but we have been guided simply by the duty 
which weighs upon us, despite our insufficiency, to 
administer justice in such a way as to respect the 
rights of all. We bear to your Fraternity a sincere 
affection, we look upon you as an honourable member 
of the Episcopate, and as a firm pillar of the house of 
the Lord, but we cannot give a verdict in your favour 
without grievously offending the God who created us."~ 

A few days afterwards, St. Hugh received a letter 
from the Pope, ordering him to see that the monks of 
Canterbury were reinstated in all the possessions of 
which they had been unjustly deprived; the Bishop 
of Ely and the Abbot of St. Edmund's being named as 
Hugh's assessors in these functions. There were many 

1 For the text of this letter see Epistola Cant uar tenses, Stubbs, p. 422. 
- Ibid. p. 464. 


serious obstacles to this complete restitution ; and the 
Pope was not blind to the difficulties which attended 
it. Accordingly, on the following day, December i2th, 
1198, he addressed a letter to the King of England, 
strongly urging him to make no opposition to the 
execution of the Apostolic mandate. Presumably, the 
King paid but little attention to this request, for a 
month later, January n, 1199, we find Innocent writing 
a second time to complain of fresh aggression upon the 
immunities of the monks of Canterbury, who had again 
been deprived of their estates, on refusing to submit to 
a forced enrolment of the treasures of their Cathedral. 

On this occasion the Pope spoke with so much 
firmness and decision that it was impossible to carry 
resistance any further. Archbishop Hubert submitted, 
and pulled down the church at Lambeth at his own 
expense. But he did not give the monks all they had 
expected, and far from being completely reconciled to 
them, he still clung to the scheme to which they so 
much objected, propounding it, however, in another 
form. Then Innocent III. addressed another letter to 
St. Hugh, and ordered him to try to bring the matter 
to a final settlement. 

Here is the Apostolic Missive, which is dated 
May 1 8th, 1 199. It illustrates indirectly the importance 
of the dispute and the confidence reposed in St. Hugh. 

" To the Bishops of Lincoln and Ely and the Abbot 
of St. Edmunds. 

11 Between our venerable brother the Archbishop and 
his predecessors on the one hand, and our beloved sons 
the Priors and monks of Canterbury on the other, a 
grievous dispute has long since arisen in respect of 
certain chapels which the said Archbishops have 
persisted in erecting to the prejudice, as it is main- 
tained, of the other party, and in this matter both our 


predecessors and ourselves have been repeatedly 
forced to issue Apostolic Letters. But now that in 
virtue of a previous mandate of ours, things have 
advanced so far towards a settlement, that the chapel at 
Lambeth has been entirely demolished and destroyed, 
the Archbishop before mentioned, wishing to carry out 
the praiseworthy intention of his predecessors, proposes 
with our special license to found anew a chapel in 
honour of the glorious martyrs Stephen and Thomas, 
in which he may set up a college of canons endowed 
with prebends. This he assures us by his envoys and 
proctors, despite all the reclamations of the other 
party, is a right which belongs to him by the common 
law. He urges that the interests of the adverse party 
can be secured from any encroachment by fit and 
adequate pledges, 1 and he declares that this present 
design of his ought not to be in any way prejudiced by 
the sentence of demolition pronounced against the said 
Lambeth chapel, seeing that the work in question was 
condemned mainly on this ground that it was carried 
out after a public denunciation 2 of the proposed 
undertaking, after our predecessors had forbidden it, 
and pending an appeal which was entered to the 
Apostolic See. But on behalf of the monks it was 
contended on the opposite side, that seeing that our 

1 The pledges proposed by Hubert certainly look very satisfactory, at 
least on paper. Each canon of his new chapel was to swear that he would 
never attempt to assert for the College any voice in the election of the 
Archbishop, and that he would not connive at the translation of St. Thomas's 
remains to any other church, that he would not consent to the chrism being 
consecrated elsewhere than at Canterbury, and that he would never seek, 
or suffer another, to be released from this oath. The oath was to be taken 
at Canterbury, by each canon immediately after his installation. (Stubbs, 
op. cit. p. 531 ; Preface, p. xcv.) [ED.] 

' Post nunciationem novi oferis. (Stubbs, p. 491.) The explanation of 
this technical phrase nunciatio may best be gathered from the Processus 
printed by Bishop Stubbs in the same volume, p. 525. The references 
to the Digest show this to have been a plea in civil law. [Eo.] 


mandate to the Archbishop and to you concerning the 
restitution of fees, churches and other things, had not 
yet been carried into effect, and that the scandal con- 
nected with the affair had never properly been repaired, 
and that it was as yet by no means assured that no 
damage would result to the monks from the proposed 
scheme, the same cause for reluctance still existing, the 
Archbishop's petition ought not to be entertained. 
As these therefore and similar pleadings have been put 
before us in our audiences, we wishing with pastoral 
solicitude to consult the interest of both parties, and 
acting upon the advice of our brethren, have decided to 
commit the said cause to you, upon the understanding 
that before all else you labour to induce the parties to 
come to an agreement among themselves. And if per- 
chance it should not please God to allow you to accom- 
plish this, then we direct that, after complete restoration 
has been made to the monks of all that they have been 
deprived of upon pretexts connected with this cause, 
you investigate the truth concerning the matters of 
which we have spoken, excluding all appeals, and if the 
consent of the parties can be obtained that you proceed 
to pass a definitive sentence, taking measures that your 
judgment should be observed by both sides without 
further demur. Otherwise, you will faithfully set down 
in writing the proceedings in the case, and transmit 
them to us under seal, assigning a suitable day to the 
parties when they must appear in our presence to 
receive sentence, and if either of them neglect so to 
appear, we, notwithstanding, will proceed in the cause 
as far as we justly may. Furthermore we will and 
ordain that going in person to the place itself, you 
make inquiry into the condition of the Church of 
Canterbury both internal and external, allowing no 
appeal, and that you report fully to us the true state 
of the case and all that you may discover, so that upon 


the information you supply, we may take such measures 
as seem needful. And this our decree shall be barred 
by no Apostolic Letters, except such as rnay be granted 
by the consent of both parties. And if you are unable 
to be all three present at these proceedings, let them 
be carried out by two of you at the least. 

" Given at the Lateran the i4th day before the 
Kalends of June, in the second year of our Pontificate." 

We will explain later on why it was that St. Hugh 
had not been able to execute the previous Papal 
mandate, and how he succeeded at last, only a few 
days before his death, in arranging everything accord- 
ing to the wishes of the Pope. 

If it is distressing to witness a quarrel of this kind 
carried on between an Archbishop and his monks, there 
is also consolation to be found in the vigilance and 
determination displayed by the Head of the Church. 
There is surely something to edify in such words as the 
following, written by Innocent in one of his letters to 
the monks he was befriending : " Notwithstanding our 
unworthiness, we hold the place of Him who, in the 
language of the Prophet, delivers the poor from 
oppression, and helps when there is none else to help. 
Full of paternal compassion for your troubles, we make 
no account of the power which has declared against 
you, and to put an end to the oppression under which 
you groan, we have unsheathed the sword of Peter, and 
intend that justice shall be done. The only reward we 
ask of you, is that you will offer your prayers and your 
tears for us to the all-merciful Judge, that our sins may 
be remitted. Lift up to Him your pure hands, that we 
may exercise our Apostolic functions to the praise and 
glory of His Name, to the advantage of the Church, 
and to the profit and salvation of our own soul." 1 

1 Mi-ne, loc. cit. 417. 


The monks of Canterbury were not the only 
Religious who derived benefit from the esteem which 
Innocent III. had for their holy state. Without 
speaking of the two great Orders of St. Francis and 
St. Dominic, which arose during his Pontificate, and 
were encouraged and blessed by him, without specifying 
the innumerable monasteries which benefited by his 
protection, it may be noted that the Carthusians in 
particular always found in him a signal benefactor. 
Not content with confirming the privileges granted by 
his predecessors, he added new ones for the defence of 
Carthusian monasteries whose peace was threatened, 
and he himself, with many marks of special affection, 
founded the Chartreuse of Trisulti, 1 near Alatri, in 
the Roman Campagna. It is not surprising then that 
so warm a friend of the Order should have appreciated 
at their true worth the courage and sincerity of our 
Carthusian Bishop of Lincoln. 2 

1 It had previously been a Benedictine abbey, and was founded by 
Saint Domenico di Foligno, but in 1208 Innocent III. gave it to the 
Carthusians. (See Moroni, Dizionario Storico-Ecclesiastico,vo\.^o,p.j^.} 

2 Dom le Couteulx, Annal. Ord. Cartus. vol. iii. p. 362. There are 
also three other letters from this Pope to St. Hugh : one on the nullity of a 
marriage ; one on a benefice being unjustly taken from an ecclesiastic ; and 
a third, on an involuntary homicide. (See Migne, loc. cit. col. 360, 
850, 898.) 



TOWARDS the close of the year 1198, and about the time 
that he was commissioned to act as delegate in the 
affair of the Christ Church monks, Hugh again became 
involved in a struggle with the King, which ended in a 
royal decree confiscating all his property. We can 
scarcely understand how Richard could so soon have 
forgotten the salutary impressions he had received 
during his last interview with the Saint ; and it was not 
very honourable on his part to accept a reconciliation 
when in the presence of the holy Bishop, only to renew 
the attack the moment his back was turned, and he 
once more had his monitor at a disadvantage. Left to 
himself, the King would probably have been incapable 
of such an act of treachery, but he had not sufficient 
moral courage to say no to his advisers when they 
talked of schemes for raising supplies. Richard would 
have done anything for money just then, so he eagerly 
swallowed the bait held out to him in this new proposal, 
the more so that it did not seem to be aimed directly 
at the Bishop, but only at the canons of his Cathedral 

Just at this period, King Richard was in sore need 
of a certain number of able ecclesiastics who could 
suitably represent his interests in foreign Courts. There 
was Rome, then the centre of European diplomacy ; 
there was Germany, where his nephew Otho, who had 


just been elected Emperor, was soliciting the favour of 
being crowned by Innocent III.; there was Spain, where 
Richard was urging his claim to the dowry which had 
been promised him with his wife Berengaria of Navarre. 
Then there was always France, and other European 
kingdoms besides, with which England was bound to 
keep up some sort of relations. Of course these various 
embassies and negotiations entailed many expenses, 
and it was urged upon the King, that in selecting his 
ambassadors, he should choose men who had good 
incomes of their own, and would be able to defray from 
their own pocket the outlay which was necessary. In 
particular the canons of Lincoln were suggested to him 
as amongst the most distinguished ecclesiastics in the 
kingdom, who had the credit not only of possessing 
ample revenues, but also of being men of remarkable 
ability. It was foreseen that the Bishop of Lincoln 
would not at all appreciate the honour which was thus 
to be forced upon his clergy ; neither was there any 
intention of asking his consent, for his refusal might 
be taken for granted. Accordingly, they again had 
recourse to the good offices of Archbishop Hubert, 
who, although he had recently been forced by the 
Pope to resign the office of Justiciar, was none the less 
willing to lend his aid in the King's dubious measures 
of finance. 

Acting upon the advice given him, Richard wrote to 
the Archbishop, requesting him " to choose from the 
clergy of the Cathedral of Lincoln twelve canons, 
endowed with equal prudence and eloquence, capable 
of furthering the interests of their Sovereign, and of 
acting as his representatives, at their own expense, in 
Rome, in Germany, in Spain, or wherever they might 
be sent." 

Instead of indignantly rejecting this despotic order, 
the Archbishop consented to take the responsibility of 


it upon his own shoulders. 1 In accordance with the 
King's instructions, he wrote twelve letters, 2 under his 
archiepiscopal seal, to twelve of the most distinguished 
prebendaries of the Church of Lincoln. These he 
forwarded to the Bishop, together with a covering letter 
addressed to St. Hugh himself, wherein he requested 
his suffragan to distribute the despatches to those 
whom they concerned, and to bid them repair to the 
presence of the Archbishop, and thence to place them- 
selves at the King's disposal in Normandy with as little 
delay as possible. 

When the Archbishop's messenger arrived at the 
manor of Bugden, where St. Hugh was then staying, 
dinner was on the point of being served. Hugh took 
the packet of letters, and quietly opened it, without 
deigning to notice the supercilious air of the messenger, 
who was a Court ecclesiastic, full of arrogance and 
haughtiness. The Bishop, after intimating the purport 
of the letter to those interested, made no answer for the 
present, but sat down to table with his clergy. They, 
not unnaturally, were considerably excited, and ex- 
changed comments in a low voice, wishing that the 
Bishop would overhear them, but not daring to address 

1 It is, perhaps, hardly needful to point out that the proposal of 
utilizing ecclesiastics as ambassadors to foreign courts would not in itself 
have appeared at all extravagant at that epoch. In fact, such functions 
were generally discharged by ecclesiastics. The point of St. Hugh's 
objection would seem to be that it was a serious injustice to his Cathedral 
church to deprive it of the services of so large a number of its most 
distinguished canons at one time. The duty of residence was one upon 
which St. Hugh strongly insisted ; see his Constitution above, pp 155, 156. 
Moreover, in strict law it was forbidden by repeated enactments that 
ecclesiastics should mix themselves up in secular affairs. See, for instance, 
the icth decree of the Third Council of Lateran (1179), or the Synod of 
Rouen (1190), cap. 9. L^D.J 

2 Magna Vita, bk. v. eh. 7. The phrase duodccim p^ria litcrarum, 
used by the biographer, offers an interesting parallel to such locutions as a 
"pair of organs," or the still surviving "pair of beads," and "pair of 
stairs." [ED. 1 


him directly. What most troubled them was the fear 
that his answer to the despatch was likely to be an 
extremely stiff one, and they were inclined to think 
that in such a grave predicament, it would be better to 
adopt a conciliatory tone. In their idea, the wisest 
course would be to appeal to the Archbishop first, and 
get him to revoke the fatal order. 

St. Hugh pretended to hear nothing, and was deter- 
mined to seek no counsel from those who were so 
obviously under the influence of fear. He waited until 
dinner was over, and then at last turned to the haughty 

" This is a new demand," he said, " a thing utterly 
unheard of; and understand that I am speaking both 
of the request made by the King's authority and also of 
what my Lord Archbishop has added of his own. You 
may tell him from me that I do not intend to carry his 
messages for him. I have never done so in the past, 
and I will not do it in the future, just as I have never 
urged and never will urge any of my clergy to render 
feudal services to the King's Majesty. Over and over 
again have I interfered to restrain ecclesiastics, even 
when belonging to other dioceses, if they held benefices 
in my own, from placing themselves, as forest-justices 
or public functionaries of any sort, at the beck and call 
of a worldly following. 1 Some of them even, if they 
would not listen to the good advice I gave them, I have 
punished by depriving them for a long time of their 
prebends. How then could I possibly pluck from the 
very heart of my church the men whom I am now 

1 Magna Vita, p. 202: " In publicis functionibus ut est in distrahendis 
forestis et aliis in hunc modum administrationibus. " This must be an 
allusion, I think, to something which we find referred to in Hoveden and 
Benedict under the year 1184: "On the death of Thomas Fitz Bernard, 
Chief Justice of Forests, the King divided his forests in England into 
different districts, and over each district he set four justices, two clerics and 
two knights," &c, (Hoveden, ii. p. 289.) [ED.] 


desired to send on the King's service P 1 Surely it should 
be enough for my lord the King that at the peril of 
their souls and to the neglect of the sacred duties they 
have taken upon themselves, the Archbishops have 
devoted all their energies to the management of his 
affairs of State. 2 But if he is not satisfied with this, 
well then the canons shall go to him, but their Bishop 
will come with them, determined to take his royal com- 
mands from no other lips than his own, and ready 
punctually to carry out his orders just so far as they are 
right and lawful. 

1 "According to St. Osmund's Institution of 1091, the only excuse for 
absence for Sarttm prebendaries were archidiaconal functions, special study 
(causa scholarum), attendance as chaplain on the King (for one Canon)* 
on the Archbishop (one), or the Bishop of the diocese (for three) ; and four 
months' absence might be allowed where it was a case of manifest import- 
ance for the Cathedral Church or the prebend. For Hereford, pilgrimage, 
Chapter-business, and studies are specified as ground for asking leave of 
absence for residents." (Wordsworth, Lincoln Cathedral Statutes, vol. iii. 
p. 803, note.) At Lincoln we find the duty of residence clearly defined in 
a document which must have been framed not long after St. Hugh's time. 
(Statutes, vol. ii. pp. 143150.) The obligation of providing a vicar 
choral, i.e. , a substitute to take his place in singing the Divine Office, is 
there declared to be binding on all who are absent for more than a third 
part of the year, and those who are absent for two-thirds of the year forfeit 
a seventh of the value of their prebend. I do not think that it must be for 
a moment supposed that these regulations allowed the canons to be absent 
for a third or two-thirds of the year at will, on condition of finding a 
vicar and forfeiting a certain portion of their revenues. It was assumed 
that their absence was brought about by some other ecclesiastical duty, 
e.%,, that they might reside upon their prebend or discharge the functions 
of archdeacon, &c. A great deal of information upon the question of 
residence may be gathered from the three volumes of the Lincoln Cat bed nil 
Statutes, and there is also an interesting account of the Vicars Choral of 
Lincoln Cathedral, by A. R. Maddison, F.S.A. [Eo.] 

2 In the light of the vision of the Eynsham monk, which was then 
probably fresh in Hugh's memory,' it would seem likely that he was 
alluding here not merely to Hubert and Geoffrey, but to Baldwin also. 
"In sooth," says the monk in speaking of the last-named, "when ho was 
Bishop of Canterbury, and also specially full excellent in cunning (know- 
ledge) full little heed he took to his cure (of souls) and to the ghostly health 
of his people ; " with much more to the same effect. [ED.] 


" And as for you, my good sir, you may take back 
home again the dozen letters you tell me you have 
brought, and a very good riddance both to you and to 
them. Remember only to repeat to my lord Archbishop 
every word of what I have been saying, and finally 
impress upon him that if my clergy are to go to the 
King as proposed, I go with them. They shall not 
travel without me now, as I on previous occasions have 
not travelled without them. It is a part of the right 
order which should subsist both between the good 
shepherd and his sheep and the good sheep and their 
shepherd, that he should not let them stray by heed- 
lessly exposing them to danger, and that they should 
not quit his side to wander about at random." 

The Archbishop's messenger was choking with anger. 
He would probably have replied with a torrent of insults 
and threats, but the Bishop interrupted him, and ordered 
him peremptorily to withdraw. Cowed and discomfited, 
he took his departure, and carried the news of his 
reception to Canterbury. St. Hugh, however, did not 
refuse to send some of his most trusted friends to the 
Archbishop, to try and inspire him with other views 
more in conformity with his sacred office. They besought 
him to pause before thus playing into the King's hands, 
and not to authorize measures which he was bound, in 
conscience, to condemn. Hubert appeared to be moved 
by these remonstrances, although he showed much dis- 
pleasure at what he called the disobedience of his 
suffragan. He promised to second the protest of the 
Bishop of Lincoln, so far as he could do so without 
injury to the King's interests. And he gave St. Hugh's 
envoys to understand that he would do his best to stop 
the proposal from going further, or at least to reduce it 
to a more acceptable form. 

St. Hugh put little faith in these promises, which 
the event proved to have been anything but sincere. 


Only a very short time afterwards, in fact, instead of 
hearing that the King had withdrawn his commands, 
an edict was published ordering the officers of the 
treasury to seize the property of the Bishop of Lincoln. 
" Did I not tell you so ? " said St. Hugh to his clergy. 
" After the voice of Jacob, behold the hands of Esau ! " 

Nevertheless, he determined to make a last appeal 
to his Archbishop, and set out for London. The only 
advice he could obtain from Hubert and several other 
nobles, was to get a considerable sum of money from 
his clergy, and send it to the King as soon as possible. 
" Do you not know, my lord Bishop," said the 
Primate, " that the King thirsts for money, as a drop- 
sical man thirsts for water ? " " That may be," replied 
St. Hugh, "but if the King is afflicted with dropsy, 
I have no wish to be the water that he swallows to 
relieve it." 

He soon saw that nothing was to be hoped for from 
the Archbishop, and took the resolution of going to the 
King himself, as he had done on a previous occasion. 
So he returned in haste to Lincoln, to make his pre- 
parations, intending to start in a few days. 

There was indeed no time to lose, for Richard did 
not seem disposed to allow his edict of confiscation to 
become a dead letter. The difficulty was, however, as 
it had previously been, to find any agents sufficiently 
bold to lay hands upon the Bishop's property. t The 
first who were charged with this perilous mission pro- 
crastinated as long as they could ; and then, not being 
able to overcome their terror, they ventured humbly to 
represent to the King the danger to which he was 
exposing them. To draw down upon themselves the 
malediction of the Bishop of Lincoln, they said, was to 
court certain death : for God cursed those whom His 
servant had cursed, and confirmed his sentence with 
the most terrible chastisements, 


These considerations had no weight with the King. 
11 Since our English are such cowards," he replied, con- 
temptuously, "let us send Marchadeus, who will know 
how to deal with this Burgundian." Marchadeus 1 was 
a certain desperado, whom Richard had taken into his 
service as captain of his " routiers." He was noted for 
his savage ferocity, a man lawless and godless, ready 
for any crime or sacrilege, and the very person to carry 
out the edict of spoliation which had been decreed 
against the Bishop of Lincoln. But a courtier begged 
the King to think twice before parting with this worthy. 
" My lord King," he said, " Marchadeus is very useful 
to you just now. If he falls under the Bishop of 
Lincoln's anathema, depend upon it you will never set 
eyes on him again ; and that will be inconvenient." 
The King was struck by this advice, and thought it 
more prudent to keep Marchadeus in Normandy. Yet, 
with a strange inconsistency, he did not fear to expose 
himself to the danger he dreaded for his follower. He 
persisted therefore in his decree of confiscation, and 
charged one of his knights, named Stephen of Turnham, 2 
as he valued his life, to carry it into execution at once. 
Stephen was by no means an unprincipled man, and 
was even personally attached to St. Hugh, but he was 
afraid to brave the King's anger any longer. Very 
reluctantly he set about obeying the order, and without 

1 Marchadeus is mentioned by Hoveden and some other chroniclers of 
this period, e.g., by the author of the rhyming Histoire de Guillaume le 
Marshal. When Richard, after being struck down by the arrow of Bertram 
de Gourdun, generously ordered Bertram to be released, it was Marchadeus 
who, after the King's death, seized the unfortunate youth and ha'd him 
flayed alive. Marchadeus himself met a violent death shortly afterwards. 
The form of the name commonly used by French writers is Mercadier. 
(See an article on this soldier of fortune in the Bibliotheque de I'Ecole des 
Chartes, by H. Gue'raud, series i. vol. iii. pp. 417 443.) [ED.] 

2 Stephen of Turnham was a man of some consideration. He had 
been seneschal of Anjou under Henry II., and in 9 and 10 Ric. I. was 
sheriff of Wilts, as also justiciar and King's tallager in Surrey. [Eo.j 


himself going to Lincoln, he sent a party of officers in 
his name, to take possession of all the goods and 
estates belonging to the see. 

While these agents were making their way towards 
his diocese, St. Hugh himself was preparing to leave it. 
It was not that he sought to escape by flight, but he 
wished to see the King, and try once more to soften 
him. He announced his resolution to the canons 
assembled in Chapter. Before taking leave of them he 
celebrated Solemn High Mass, at the end of which he 
gave them his blessing, making use of the formula 
employed in days of old by the priests of Israel, and 
inserted in the ritual of Lincoln by his command. 1 
" The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. The Lord show 
His face to thee, and have mercy on thee. The Lord 
turn His countenance to thee, and give thee peace." 5 
Then he recommended himself to the prayers of each 
of his sons, embraced them all tenderly, and addressed 
them by way of farewell in the words of the Apostle : 
" And now I commend you to God, and to the word of 
His grace." 3 We can easily imagine the grief and 
emotion of the canons, who loved him so faithfully, at 
this parting. 

St. Hugh set out, attended as usual, in the direction 
of the manor of Bugden. As he drew near Peter- 
borough, his attendants observed a troop of men 
approaching, whose aspect was not at all reassuring. 
They were, in fact, the officers sent to execute the 

1 It was in some sense a peculiarity of the uses of Western Europe to 
provide a very large number of forms for the Pontifical benediction at the 
Agnus' Dei of the Mass, varying with the feast. Great freedom was used 
in adding to these forms, and when new feasts were introduced into the 
calendar it was a common practice to add a new form of benediction, either 
in the Pontifical, or in a book specially consecrated to this purpose, and 
called a Benedictional. The form referred to above is to be met with in 
the Bodleian MS. Rawlinson, C. 425, but it is there inserted in the nuptial 
Mass. (See Westminster Missal, vol. iii. p. 1237.) [^D.] 

2 Numbers vi. 24 26. 3 Acts xx. 32. 


mandate of confiscation, who intended to begin opera- 
tions by taking possession of the Bishop's manor of 
Sleaford. They were, however, much more fright- 
ened of St. Hugh and his attendants, than the latter 
were of them. Turning aside from the path, the officers 
left the road clear for the Saint, but they found an 
opportunity to get a word with some of his attendants, 
and to them they made abject apologies for their 
errand. Nothing, they declared, but the King's terrible 
threats against their master would have induced them 
to stir in such a hateful business ; but it was a matter of 
life and death for all of them, and they could not help 
themselves. Their excuses, as Hugh's biographer notes, 
were an echo of those of the third captain sent by the 
perfidious King Ochozias to the Prophet Elias. Then 
they went on to implore that the Bishop would withhold 
his curse and make his peace with the King, promising 
in the meantime that they would do all in their power 
to keep his property from harm. 

Their words and entreaties were repeated to the 
Bishop, but they produced little effect upon him. " It 
is not for such as these," he said, " to take care of our 
interests. Let them go on their way, and do their 
worst. If they touch our goods, or rather those of our 
Queen, Mary, the Holy Mother of God, they do it at 
their peril." And so speaking, he drew from his breast 
the fringe of a linen stole, 1 which he always wore under 
his mantle when on a journey, and shook it, saying, 
" Be assured that this little strip of linen has power to 

1 The stole is pre-eminently the symbol of spiritual power and jurisdic- 
tion. This conception seems to have been deeply rooted in the mediaeval 
mind, and is of early date. There is much intrinsic probability in favour of 
the identity of origin of the stole and the archiepiscopal pallium. (Cf. 
Duchesne, Origines, pp. 370 380, and Grisar, Jubildum des Deutschen 
Campo Santo, pp. 83, seq. ) And how closely the latter is identified with the 
idea of jurisdiction, appears even as early as the sixth century, in the letters 
of St. Gregory the Great. The stole is always used in the administration 
of a sacrament, as also in exorcisms, excommunications, &c. L^D.] 


bring about the restitution, even to the last farthing, of 
all they may dare to steal from us." 

He left the treasury agents a prey to their terrors, 
and continued his journey to Bugden. As soon as he 
arrived there, he sent letters immediately to the arch- 
deacons and deans of those districts in which he 
owned estates, ordering them to call together the priests 
of the neighbouring parishes, and to pronounce solemn 
excommunication, with book, bell, and candle, 1 against 
those who dared to lay violent hands on the property of 
his Church, as soon as the King's agents appeared. 
The excommunication was to extend to those who had 
instigated, as well as to those who were the actual 
instruments of the spoliation. 

Having thus satisfied his conscience, St. Hugh lay 
down upon his bed, and fell immediately into a peaceful 
sleep. That night he was heard to repeat his favourite 
Amen rather oftener, and more emphatically than 
usual. He seemed, even while unconscious, to be ex- 
pressing his entire conformity to the will of God, and 
his conviction that Divine Providence would never 
abandon him. 

1 In English, the phrase " excommunication with book, bell, and 
candle" seems to have become stereotyped, but in Latin we find here in 
the Magna Vita, and elsewhere, no mention of the book, but only pulsatis 
campanis accensisque candelis. So, for instance, the decrees issued by the 
Council of York, held under the presidency of Archbishop Hubert, in 
1195. (Wilkins, i. p. 502.) The ceremonies here alluded to were only used 
in the case of the excommunicatio major, or solemn anathema, and were 
intended to strike terror into the beholders. The candles, at the close of 
the ceremony, were thrown down and stamped out, and the form of 
excommunication prayed that : " As these candles, cast from our handSf 
are this day extinguished, so may his lamp be extinguished for ever, unless 
perchance he repent," &c. The bells apparently were rung during the 
earlier part of the ceremony, and then were silent ; the idea being, 
according to Angelo Rocca, that bells being used to exorcise the devil, the 
silence of the bells was symbolical of a surrender of the excommunicated 
person to diabolical influence. (Cf. Maskell, Monumenta Ritiialia, ii. 
p. ccxx.) [Eo.] 



When we find St. Hugh, in this chapter as else- 
where, describing the estates of the see of Lincoln as 
belonging to our Blessed Lady, it must not be supposed 
that this idea was merely an ingenious invention of his, 
devised to throw a cloak of piety over his resistance to 
the royal demands. Hugh was speaking not only as 
the devout client of Mary, the Mother of God, but as 
a skilled and experienced jurist. I should like to quote 
at length the sections of Pollock and Maitland's History 
of English Law , in which this subject is dealt with (vol. i. 
pp. 481 495), but I must content myself with a few 
sentences. " In the Anglo-Saxon land-books," say the 
authors, "this notion that God and the Saints are the 
true owners of what we should call ' church lands,' is 
put before us in many striking phrases. In the oldest 
of them the newly converted Ethelbert says : * To thee, 
St. Andrew, and to thy church at Rochester, where 
Justus the Bishop presides, do I give a portion of my 
land.' 1 The Saint is the owner; his church at this 
place or that is mentioned because it is necessary to 
show of which of his many estates the gift is to form 
part. ..." " There are human beings who are directing 
the affairs of the Saint and the church, receiving, dis- 
tributing, enjoying the produce of the land. They are 
the Saint's administrators ; they are the rectores of his 
church, his and his representatives." Or again : " Very 
often in Domesday Book the Saint is the land-owner ; 
St. Paul holds land, St. Constantine holds land, the 
Count of Mortain holds lands of St. Petroc, Leofstan 
held land under ' the glorious King Edmund ' (the 
martyr). . . . The church of Worcester, an episcopal 

1 Kemble, Codex Diplomaticus, No. i ; Haddan and Stubbs, Concilia, 
iii. 52. 


church, has lands, and St. Mary of Worcester holds 

It is to this conception that we owe the term parson 
as applied to the rector of a parish church. Professor 
Maitland explains it well in the following words : " We 
have seen how Bracton laid stress upon the usual form 
of pious gifts ; they are made in the first place to God 
and the saints ; only in a secondary way are they made 
to abbots, monks, and the like. Now this idea of the 
Saint or the church as the subject of rights prevents 
the emergence of many difficulties which puzzled the 
lawyers of later days. Especially was this the case 
when the church was an ordinary parish church, with 
but one ecclesiastic in any way connected with it. That 
person was the rector of the church, and during his 
tenure of office he might be said to bear, or to be, the 
persona of the church." The parson, therefore, in a 
certain very intelligible sense, impersonated St. Peter, 
or St. Andrew, or St. Paul, whoever might be the 
patron to whom his church was dedicated. He acted 
in their name, and represented their interests. This 
was why St. Hugh felt himself to be truly the repre- 
sentative, the champion, of his Lady St. Mary, to 
whom his Cathedral was dedicated. When the estates 
belonging to the see of Lincoln were forcibly seized, it 
was not he, Hugh of Avalon, who was deprived of 
them as far as he was concerned the King might take 
his goods and welcome but it was Mary, the Queen 
of Heaven, whose rights were outraged, and these he 
could not suffer to be impaired in the smallest parti- 
cular without a flagrant violation of his episcopal 
oath. [Eo.] 



ST. HUGH made a short stay at Bugden, before resum- 
ing his journey to London. Whilst he was setting in 
order the affairs of his diocese, and otherwise making 
final preparations for his departure, he received a visit 
from a rural dean residing in the neighbourhood, who 
came to consult him about a reputed witch who lived 
in his parish. This woman was very much sought after 
by the superstitious peasantry. She professed to be 
able to tell when a theft had been committed, and who 
had committed it, and likewise to detect cases where 
magic was secretly employed. When the dean or any 
other learned and prudent man attempted to question 
or reprove her, she poured out such a torrent of words 
that her questioner was completely overwhelmed and 
reduced to silence. No one could stop the volubility 
of her tongue ; she would always have the last word. 
"Very well," said the Bishop, "I shall be leaving for 
London in a few days, and shall pass through your 
parish : bring the woman to me then." The holy man, 
hoped, perhaps, to gain another victory over Satan his 
arch-enemy, who was, he felt, at the bottom of the many 
persecutions he was just then enduring. Nothing offends 
the devil more than the deliverance of an unfortunate 
creature of whom he has taken possession. For there, 


where his infernal power has been most visible, his real 
weakness in the presence of One stronger than himself 
is equally manifested. At the command of a true 
servant of God, the fallen spirit is forced to release 
his prey, and to acknowledge his defeat ; while those 
who witness the victory are also encouraged to avoid 
his snares and to resist him with a firm hope founded 
upon prayer and the grace of God. 

Only a short time before this, when the Bishop of 
Lincoln was returning from London, Divine Providence 
had thrown in his way a person possessed of the devil, 
and we will relate this previous cure before that of the 
witch already spoken of. It was on a Sunday morning. 
St. Hugh had just arrived at Cheshunt, near Waltham 
Abbey. Nearly all his attendants had gone on in 
advance, and he was accompanied by only a few of his 
clergy. In the middle of the town, he was stopped and 
surrounded by a crowd of people groaning and lament- 
ing. They implored the Bishop to give his blessing to 
a poor sailor who was cruelly tormented by the devil. 
One morning, as this unfortunate man was sleeping 
on board his ship, which was loaded with wood for 
London, he was seized by the infernal spirit, and began 
to tear his own flesh with his teeth and hands. His 
terrified companions, fearing themselves to become the 
victims of his fury, succeeded with great difficulty in 
securing him with ropes. They had at last brought 
him home, and he was now lying bound in his own 
house. The house was close at hand, and on the 
Bishop guiding his horse thither, the door was thrown 
open, and a terrible sight met his view. He was 
horror-struck, and dismounting quickly from his horse, 
exclaimed: "Oh, this is dreadful! This must not go 
on ! " The poor demoniac was lying on the ground, his 
head was fastened to the door, his hands firmly bound 
to two stakes, and his feet to another post. His eyes 


protruded and rolled from side to side ; his mouth was 
distorted and twitching convulsively ; sometimes he 
thrust out his tongue, hideously swollen ; sometimes 
he ground his teeth, or opened his jaws so wide, as to 
display the whole cavity of the mouth and throat. 1 
Those who beheld him might have profited by the 
sight to form some idea of the ugliness of the prince of 

The Bishop approached the unfortunate man, made 
the sign of the Cross, bent over him and placed his 
hand upon the hideous, gaping mouth, saying, in a 
low voice, the beginning of the Gospel of St. John : 
In principio evat Verbum. The possessed felt the effect 
of the sacred words and the touch of the man 
of God ; the convulsive movements ceased, and he 
lay quite still, half opening his eyes and looking 
timidly at his charitable exorcist. The Bishop 
finished the Gospel, as far as the words, plenum 
gratia et veritatis ; then stood erect, and silently 
gazed at the captive of Satan. The devil could 
not bear this inspection, and forced the poor creature 
to turn away his head and thrust out his tongue 
in an insulting manner. Hugh was indignant at 
this resistance of the evil spirit. He called for 
water and salt, blessed and mixed them accord- 
ing to the ritual of the Church, and sprinkled the 
possessed. He then instructed those who were 
standing by to pour some of the holy water into 
the mouth of the unfortunate man, gave his blessing 
to all, and resumed his journey. His presence in 
truth was no longer necessary : the evil spirit had 
fled, and his victim obtained the still greater grace 
of an entire conversion to God, which set soul 
as well as body free from the power of the devil. 
He spent the remainder of his life in making pious 

1 Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 8. 


pilgrimages, 1 and died an edifying death a few years 
afterwards. 2 

St. Hugh was now to gain a fresh victory over his 
enemy, by curing the witch of whom he heard at 
Bugden. She was brought to him as he had com- 
manded, by the rural dean, surrounded by a great 
crowd, in the midst of which were several little children 
who were coming to receive Confirmation. The Bishop 
dismounted from his horse and addressed himself, so 
his biographer tells us, not to the woman, but to the 
demon that possessed her. " Come, then, vile spirit," 
he said. " Let us test your powers of divination," and 
so saying, he stretched out his right hand, in which he 
held concealed the end of his stole. " Come, I say, 
tell me, if you can, what I have hidden in this hand." 
Whether the unfortunate woman was really possessed, 
or only a half crazy impostor trading on the supersti- 
tions of the ignorant rustics, no further exorcism was 
required than the Bishop's presence and his half-mock- 
ing question. The so-called witch, who at first had met 

1 In the middle ages this was quite a recognized means of livelihood. 
It was a common thing to give an alms to a poor man, which might enable 
him to make a pilgrimage to some celebrated shrine, and there pray for 
the donor's intention. Legacies for such vicarious pilgrimages are not 
unfrequently found in ancient wills. [ED.] 

- In the year 1219, when Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
and John, Abbot of Fountains, as Papal Commissioners, made inquisition 
into the alleged miracles of St. Hugh, with a view to his canonization, this 
cure of the madman at Cheshunt was one of the cases which came before 
them for examination. Amongst the witnesses was AcUun, Abbot of 
Eynsham, the author of the Magna V r ita t who had been present on the 
occasion. A copy of the report of the Commissioners, which was made 
the basis of the Legenda read on St. Hugh's feast, is to be found in the 
Harleian MS. 526. This gives the official account, and lets us see that the 
Commissioners were quite in earnest in sifting the evidence thoroughly. 
We learn from it that the sailor's name was Roger Cullioppc, and that 
among the witnesses examined were three men, whose names are given, 
and the sailor's two daughters, all eye-witOMMS, a> \\rll as the parish 
priest. See also MS. Lansdowne, 436, anil Cotton Roll, xiii. 27, the latter 
of which corrects one or two errors in the text printed by Mr. Dimock, 
Giraldus, vol. vii. pp. 188 190. Cf. Magna Vita, Preface, p. xxxviii. [ED.] 


his gaze defiantly, the moment St. Hugh addressed her, 
fell down in a swoon at his feet. As she made no 
attempt to rise, St. Hugh bade some of the bystanders 
attend to her, and when she was sufficiently recovered 
he asked her a few questions, with the aid of the dean, 
for the poor woman's dialect was unintelligible to him. 
She was too frightened or too bewildered to make much 
answer, but she confessed she knew nothing of magic, 
and begged the holy Bishop's forgiveness. 

St. Hugh laid his hand upon her head, uttered a 
short prayer, and gave her his blessing. He then 
ordered her to be taken to the Prior of Huntingdon, 
the penitentiary of the district, in order that she might 
make her confession and receive a salutary penance. 1 
Her conversion was lasting and sincere. The reputed 
witch dabbled in magic no longer, but rather gave 
herself to lamenting her past sins ; and as she had 
formerly been bold and loquacious, so now she became 
modest and silent, to the great edification of all who 
had known her in former days. 2 

1 No doubt St. Hugh would then and there have heard her confession 
himself if it had not been for the difficulty of understanding her. It has 
been inferred from this instance, and from another, to be mentioned a few 
pages further on, of St. Hugh's use of an interpreter, that the Saint did 
not understand English (see Freeman, Norman Conquest, vol. v. p. 891) ; 
but I must own that I agree rather with Bishop Stubbs, that the terms in 
which the need of an interpreter is referred to rather imply the contrary. 
"St. Hugh of Lincoln," he says, "who was a Burgundian by birth, did 
not understand the dialects of Kent and Huntingdonshire, but he was 
addressed by the natives as if it were naturally to be expected that he 
would comprehend what they said." (Stubbs, Constitutional History, vol. i. 
p. 616.) [ED.] 

2 The account of this incident given in the French original has been 
condensed and somewhat modified in the present translation. Although 
St. Hugh's chaplain no doubt hailed the cure as miraculous, his plain and 
truthful narrative in the Magna Vita does not suggest that the Saint himself 
detected anything more directly diabolical about this so-called witch than 
the design to make a fraudulent profit out of the fears and superstitions of 
her neighbours. It may be added that in other parts of this chapter I have 
not felt bound to reproduce the exact words or the comments of the French 
biographer. [Eo.] 


Long before this time St. Hugh had gained a certain 
reputation for his skill in dealing with the victims of 
diabolical possession. One day the Bishop of Exeter, 
Bartholomew by name, 1 and a prelate renowned for his 
learning, came to tell St. Hugh of a poor woman in 
his diocese who was most cruelly tormented by an evil 
spirit. She would never give consent to the tyranny 
of Satan, but resisted him by every means in her 
power. She confessed frequently, fasted and prayed, 
and practised many austerities, until her health was 
seriously affected by them. The devil ridiculed all her 
efforts, and continued to persecute her. Whether God 
allowed this to punish her for some previous fault, or 
whether He wished to try her, as He tried holy Job and 
many other saints, it is impossible to say. But the 
time of her deliverance was at hand. 

St. Hugh felt the deepest compassion for the poor 
victim when he was told of her suffering. " Since this 
person," he said, " strives against sin by penance and 
mortification, I know of no other counsel to give her. 
Nothing remains but to implore the mercy of our 
Divine Redeemer on her behalf." 

The Bishop of Exeter assured the Saint that he and 
many of the priests in his diocese had besieged Heaven 
with prayers for her deliverance, but entirely without 
result. " Do you intercede for her now, my brother," 
he said, " I implore of you." " Yes," replied St. Hugh, 
*' most willingly will I do so ; and every Christian 
should pray for her, from his heart." And kneeling 
down, he straightway poured forth his soul in one of 
those ardent supplications for mercy, to which God has 
promised never to turn a deaf ear. The prayer was 
efficacious, the woman was delivered, and lived after- 
wards in great repute for holiness. 

1 This Bishop died on the 151)1 of December, 1184. So that, if 
St. Hugh's biographer makes no mistake in the name, the incident that 
follows must have occurred while the Saint was still Prior of \Viiham. 


Another similar occurrence, believed to be mira- 
culous, took place in Lincoln Cathedral ; we do not 
know exactly at what date. An inhabitant of the city 
fell ill of a fever, and when the fever left him went 
raving mad. Every one regarded it as a case of 
diabolical possession. So great was his strength, that 
it took eight men to hold him. In spite of the chains 
with which he was bound it was dangerous to go too 
near ; for in his madness he attempted to bite all who 
approached, without excepting even his wife and 
children. One of his relations proposed to take the 
unfortunate man to the Bishop, 1 and the demoniac was 
accordingly brought to the Cathedral in a cart and the 
Saint was entreated to do what he could for him. 
Hugh, full of compassion, sprinkled the maniac with 
holy water, commanding the evil spirit to come out of 
him and torment the man no longer. The command 
was instantly obeyed. The sick man fell to the ground 
as one dead, but on being again copiously sprinkled 
with holy water, he revived and stood up sane and well. 
Raising his hands, which were still bound, to heaven, he 
exclaimed : " I thank Thee, O my God ! " and turning 
to his deliverer, he added : " I thank thee, O holy 
Bishop ! " Then they released him from his bonds, and 
he quietly returned home to his family, without ever 
afterwards experiencing a relapse into the same in- 
firmity. 2 


How far St. Hugh in the different episodes just 
recounted believed himself to be in actual conflict with 

1 This relative, Roger Fitz Warren by name, gave evidence of the 
miracle before the Papal Commissioners, in 1119. There had been other 
eye-witnesses, but Roger stated that they were then dead. See Harleian 
MS. 526, and Cotton Roll, xiii. 27. [Eo.] 

2 Ann. Ord. Cartus. vol. iii. p. 80 ; Vita Metrica, vv. 1088 1106. 
This miracle is not given in the Magna Vita^ but is printed in Giraldus, 
vii. p. 179. 


the spirit of evil, does not appear quite clearly from 
the pages of the Magna Vita. We cannot safely assume 
that his point of view was necessarily that of his 
biographer. That St. Hugh believed in diabolical 
possession is beyond all possible doubt, just as it is 
beyond a doubt that he believed in miracles. 1 But the 
most unhesitating conviction of the possibility of these 
preternatural occurrences in the abstract, is quite con- 
sistent with an attitude of caution as to the acceptance 
of any individual miracle or any individual case of 
possession. It was certainly characteristic of our Saint 
not to be over-credulous. Several details in the Life 
illustrate his independence of judgment in such matters, 
and over and above these incidents themselves we have 
the explicit statement of his biographer, who seems to 
have been a man of a somewhat different complexion 
and to have been more inclined than his patron to 
cultivate an appetite for the marvellous. Here at any 
rate is the testimony of Abbot Adam, as it may be read 
in the prologue to the third book of the Magna Vita. 

" In recounting," he writes, " the history of his life 
as a Bishop, we shall not seek so much to excite super- 
fluously the wonder of those who may read or listen 
to our narrative, as to set out things holy and whole- 
some for the edification of those who desire to know 
and to imitate them. For in this matter also the 

1 The reader may be reminded of the miraculous vision of Prior Basil, 
by which St. Hugh believed himself to have been cured of a violent 
temptation of the flesh (Magna Vita, bk. ii. ch. 2 ; supra, p. 72), a vision 
which he narrated more than once to his chaplain, and especially in great 
detail just before his death. Again, it is clear that the Saint thoroughly 
approved and believed in the miraculous occurrences attending the vision 
of the monk of Eynsham (supra, p. 351), so again in the story of the 
crusader knight of Maurienne (Magna Vita, bk. iv. ch. 12), which he was 
fond of telling, he dwelt upon the sweet odour with which the knight 
was preternaturally consoled everyday at the same hour. Of St. Hugh's 
extraordinary keenness in collecting and venerating i flics we have yet to 


Blessed Hugh had perfectly imbibed the sober and 
humble spirit of the founders of the Carthusian Order, 
so that there was nothing he seemed less to appreciate 
or to be keen about than miracles and wonders. It is 
true that when he heard or knew such things about 
saintly men he used very pleasantly to relate them, 
and he regarded miracles with the deepest veneration ; 
but he recounted them chiefly to enhance the glory of 
those who did these marvels and to spur on those who 
were moved by the hearing of them. For his own part, 
the one miracle which impressed him, the one example 
which roused him to imitation, was the holiness of the 
saints in itself. What took the place of all other 
miracles for him, was the simple remembrance deep 
down in his heart of the God who had made him, and 
of the stupendous and inexhaustible multitude of His 
good gifts to men." 1 

It will be noticed that St. Hugh's biographer is very 
far from saying that the Saint disbelieved in miracles 
in general, or even was sceptical and hard to convince 
in the case of any particular miracle. On the contrary, 
he declares that he recounted such things readily when 
he saw that others were helped by them, but none the 
less he himself was so deeply impressed with the daily 
miracle of God's love for man and the miracles of grace 
and the sacraments, that he had little temptation to 
run after more vulgar marvels which might or might 
not be vitiated by fraud or imposture. 

With regard to the treatment of the poor sufferers 
brought to St. Hugh, whether he considered them as 
demoniacs or simply as insane, it may be said that the 
methods he employed to cure them were those univer- 
sally in use at that epoch. As the learned Bollandist, 
Father Victor de Buck, points out, hardly any attempt 
was made in the middle ages to distinguish between 
1 Magna Vita (Rolls Series), p. 97. 


lunatics and possessed persons. 1 The exorcisms, the 
copious use of holy water, the fasting and the binding 
in church, the laying of the stole upon their heads or 
necks, the reading over them of Gospels, &c., were 
practices adopted almost indifferently in all such cases. 
The reading of a Gospel over the sick, and more 
particularly of the beginning of the Gospel of St. John, 
In principio erat Verbum, &c., seems to have been the 
most favourite remedy of all. Even to this day it is 
common for the Irish peasantry to ask to have a 
Gospel read, 2 and, indeed, it is prescribed in the Ritnalc 
Romanum, in the section " De Visitatione et Cura Infir- 
morum." The practice seems to be as old as the time 
of St. Augustine. Many examples might be quoted 
from the lives of the saints. I will be content to recall 
that of St. Yvo of Treguier, who put a reputed demoniac 
into a bed near his own, and cured him by sprinkling 
him with holy water and reading over him the Gospel 
of St. John. Just at this period in England there 
seems to have been quite a furore, if one may use such 
a word in this connection, for having Gospels read, 
and especially additional Gospels to be read by the 
priest at the altar during or after Mass. Giraldtis 
Cambrensis, in his Gemma Ecclesiastica, tells many 
curious stories of the extravagant lengths to which this 
practice of " multiplying Gospels " was carried. It was 
fostered by the cupidity of some unworthy members 

1 An admirable little dissertation will be found on this subject in the 
Acta Sanctorum, vol. 58, pp. 852856. Father de Buck's remarks an- 
suggested by a reference to the Shrine of St. Florentinus at Bonnet, 
which was formerly a great place of resort for the cure of mad people. 

2 The reading of Gospels over the sick seems to have been a prominent 
feature of Celtic Christianity everywhere. The Stowe Missal gives an 
" Ordo ad visitandum infirmum," in which two extracts from the Gospels 
are found. In the Book of Deer also, and some other similar collections, 
a form of Communion for the Sick occurs bound up with a number of 


of the clergy, who used to exact an offering for the 
Gospels thus added to the Mass for various private 
intentions. One of Giraldus' stories has reference to 
St. Hugh, and is told in these words : l 

" Likewise that venerable man, Hugh, Bishop of 
Lincoln, when passing by a certain parish church on 
one occasion, went in to hear Mass, and found the 
priest celebrating the Holy Mysteries for his parish- 
ioners. After the Communion and the Ite missa est, 
straightway the priest began to multiply Gospels in this 
manner. First, Initium sancti evangelii, then, Spiritus 
Domini, after that, Salve sancta panns? with other things 
which were nothing to the purpose. When the Bishop 
had heard this, he remarked humorously : What will 
the poor man have to say to-morrow, since he has 
given us all he knows to-day ? ' ' 

Giraldus adds that when those who favoured the 
multiplying of Gospels were taken to task about it, they 
alleged in reply : " That they have a curative virtue 
and that evil dreams are put to flight by them, especially 
by the beginning of St. John." 3 It will be noticed 
further on, that on one occasion when St. Hugh's 
travelling companions wanted to hurry him away at an 
early hour, they pressed him not to celebrate Mass, but 
to be content with hearing a Gospel read instead. As 
might have been expected, St. Hugh refused to accept 
this as a substitute for the Holy Sacrifice. [ED.] 

1 Giraldus Cambrensis, Opera, vol. ii. p. 129. The section of the 
Gemma Ecclesiastica in which this story occurs is entitled : "Quod non 
sunt evangelia multiplicanda." 

2 The point seems to be that the priest pretended to be reading fresh 
Gospels, when he was really saying by heart all the scraps of the liturgy 
which he happened to remember, and which of course were not extracts 
from the Gospel at all. 

" Quia medicina est et phantasma fugat, praecipue Johannis initium." 


ON the day after his interview with the supposed witch, 
of whom he had heard at Bugden, the Bishop of 
Lincoln, resuming his journey, passed through the 
territory of St. Albans. That celebrated abbey, with 
its estates and dependencies, had been exempted from 
episcopal jurisdiction some forty years before, though 
the county of Hertfordshire, in which it lay, still formed 
part of the Lincoln diocese. 1 Within the abbey fran- 
chises St. Hugh chanced to come upon a melancholy 
procession. It was a thief, condemned to death, his 
hands tied behind his back, whom a party of apparitors 
were leading to the gallows. 

When they caught sight of the holy Bishop, they 
all hastened towards him to receive his blessing. Their 
prisoner was quite as anxious as any of them to solicit 
this favour, for there suddenly entered into his heart 
the hope of life and freedom. He threw himself down 
on his knees, almost under the hoofs of the horse the 
Bishop was riding, uttering piteous cries and begging 
for mercy. The Saint promptly drawing bridle asked 
who the man was, and what he wanted. His attendants, 
who knew their master well, were in consternation. If 

1 It was under Bishop Robert of Chesney that the Abbey of St. Albans 
ceased to belong to the diocese of Lincoln. Walsingham, Gesta Abbatum , 
i. 128 158 ; Giraldus Cambrensis, Opera, vol. iv. pp. 94 98. See also 
Monastic. Anglic, vol. i. p. 176, and Mabillon, vol. ii. p. 298, and voL iv, 
p. 672. 


his compassion were aroused he was capable of any 
rashness in order to secure the unfortunate man's 
release. "My lord," they said to him, "it is not a 
case which concerns your Holiness in any way. Don't 
trouble about him, but continue your journey." But 
this was not the way of the holy Bishop. He insisted 
upon examining into the cause of this unexpected 
client, and when all had been explained to him, " God 
bless us!" he exclaimed (Eja I Benedictus Dens); "this 
is a bad business." Then addressing the officers who 
were taking the thief to execution : " My children," he 
said, " do you return with me to the town. I mean to 
take charge of your prisoner myself. You may tell 
your chiefs and the judges that it is I who have taken 
him from you. I will see that you are held guiltless in 
this matter." The guards dared not disobey ; they 
released their prisoner, and the Bishop immediately 
ordered his hands to be untied, giving him into the 
care of his almoner. Then the two escorts, that of the 
Bishop and that of the condemned man, amalgamated 
and marched side by side into the little town. It was 
a strange spectacle for the good citizens. Was the 
holy Bishop then so persecuted that he had just been 
arrested by the King's troops ? Or was this armed 
force in the service of the illustrious prelate ? The 
enigma was soon made clear to the astonished crowd, 
who gathered in the streets to see what was passing. 
They understood what must have occurred, when they 
perceived the criminal, now unbound, walking cheer- 
fully along with the rest. Certainly he was not yet 
completely delivered, but he had every reason for con- 
fidence in his protector. 

No sooner had St. Hugh entered the inn, 1 than all 

1 We are probably right in translating hospitium as "inn." It is not 
likely that St. Hugh would have attempted to find a lodging at the abbey, 
if there is any truth in the story told above on p. 299. On the other hand, 


his own people came round him and entreated him to 
allow justice to take its course. " My lord," they said, 
" up to the present time, neither the King nor any one 
else among your enemies have been able to reproach 
you with any real offence. They have not even a 
decent pretext for proceeding against you. But if 
you take it upon yourself to annul by your Pontifical 
authority a sentence of the justices formally passed in 
the King's court and in actual process of execution, 
then all who are ill-disposed will declare that you have 
attacked the Crown itself, and that you are guilty of 
high treason." 

St. Hugh's only reply was : " Is this all the courage 
and generosity that you are capable of? Go and tell 
the judges to come to me; you shall hear what they 
will say to me, and what answer I shall make." 

The judges, in fact, had already arrived, and were 
asking for an audience with the Bishop. They were 
ushered into his presence. St. Hugh made them sit 
down, and then spoke as follows : " You are all learned 
men, and I am sure you are aware of the privilege 
enjoyed by our Holy Mother Church, in every part of 
the Christian world ; I mean, the right of sanctuary, 
by virtue of which she is able to protect all condemned 
or proscribed persons, who fly to her for refuge." 

one of the points specially insisted upon in the Papal letters of exemption, 
is the release of all churches dependent upon the abbey from parochial 
visitations by the Bishop and from all exactions connected therewith. The 
burdens thus laid upon poor parish priests were often very great. Only a 
few years before, at the third Council of Lateran (1179), an effort had been 
made to curtail the retinues which Bishops and other officials were in the 
habit of taking with them, for whom the parish was expected to provide. 
An Archbishop was not to be attended by a party of more than forty or 
fifty, a Bishop by not more than twenty or thirty. Even this retinue must 
have seemed formidable enough to those who were expected to furnish 
entertainment for the men and fodder for their horses. In the little town 
of St.Albans, within the abbey franchises, the Bishop of Lincoln had no 
claim to "procurations" or hospitality of any sort. He will therefore 
probably have lodged at an inn, if such was to be found. [ED.] 


" Yes," replied the judges, " we readily admit that 
the right of sanctuary must always be respected." 

"Then," continued St. Hugh, " you will also allow 
that wherever the Bishop is, in the midst of an assembly 
of the faithful, there is the Church. He who both 
consecrates the material stones of the sacred edifice, 
and who sanctifies the living stones also of which the 
Church of Christ is still more truly built up, by the 
administration of those sacraments, which convert men 
into the temples of the Most High, such a one, I say, 
wherever he is present, ought to enjoy all those 
privileges which the Church can claim, and ought to be 
a living sanctuary for all those who may appeal to his 

The judges, according to the testimony of Hugh's 
chaplain, took it all in good part and made no protest. 
" Indeed they remembered," he says, " that this doctrine 
was expressed in the ancient laws of the English, 
although it had latterly fallen into disuse through the 
supineness of the Bishops or the tyranny of Kings." l 
But whatever the original privilege may have been, 
it was a bold step just then to revive it, and we 
cannot be surprised that the justices, after consulting 
amongst themselves, answered St. Hugh somewhat 
nervously : 

"My Lord," they said, "we are your sons and 
members of your flock ; you are our Father and our 
Pastor. We do not wish therefore to contend with 
you or to dispute your prerogative, and you on your 
part we are certain would be unwilling to expose us to 
grave danger. You may set our prisoner free ; we will 
do nothing to oppose it ; only we trust to you to take 
the responsibility of the act, and to secure us from the 
anger of the King." St. Hugh did not forget that he 
was himself in disgrace, but he made not the least 

1 Ma-gnu Vita, p. 278. 


demur about compromising himself still more, for the 
sake of this unfortunate client of his. 

*' You have spoken honourably and straight- 
forwardly," he answered the judges. " Be it under- 
stood therefore that I have forcibly rescued the prisoner 
from out of your hands, and for this violent act of mine 
I am prepared to render an account whenever it shall 
be necessary." 

The judges retired, and the thief accompanied 
St. Hugh to London. He escaped all punishment, 
and was allowed by the Bishop to depart whithersoever 
he would. We do not know if his after-life did 
honour to his saintly protector ; but we may reasonably 
hope that a sincere conversion was the fruit of the 
great act of charity shown to him. 

For some reason or other, no notice seems to have 
been taken in London of Hugh's interference with the 
course of justice. Shortly after his arrival the Bishop 
of Lincoln paid a visit to the Barons of the Exchequer, 
wishing, it would seem, to appeal to them to prevent any 
rapine or devastation being done to the property of his 
see, more especially during his absence. By the 
Barons assembled in conclave he was received with 
marked consideration and respect. They rose to 
salute him, promised that they would do all in their 
power to save his estates now presumably in their 
keeping as a consequence of the confiscation from 
waste or injury, and courteously besought him to be 
seated for a while beside them at the famous chequer- 
board, 1 from which the court derived its name. 

Hugh made some difficulty at first, but eventually 
allowed himself to be persuaded, and took a seat. 

1 It was a long rectangular table, as we learn from the Dialogiis dc 
Scaccario, measuring ten feet by five. It was covered with \\ cloth marked 
out into compartments, something like a chess-board, and intended to 
facilitate the primitive arithmetical computations of those days. --[El).] 


Then the officials clapped their hands in triumph. 
" Come now, my Lord," they said, "this is a victory. 
All our lives long we shall be able to boast that we 
have seen the Bishop of Lincoln sitting at the board of 
the King's Exchequer." 1 

Hugh felt that he had been entrapped. He coloured 
a little at the pleasantry and rose immediately. Still 
he saw that it was best to treat the misadventure as a 
jest, and his ready wit suggested a way of extricating 
himself from his embarrassment. Turning to the 
Barons he embraced each one of them in order, as if to 
take his leave, and then said quietly : " And I also shall 
be able to boast of a victory over you, if after you have 
yielded me the kiss of peace, you take any unfriendly 
action against my Church." 

Hugh's quickness in turning the tables on those who 
were bantering him, seems to have impressed the 
Barons profoundly, " Oh, what a clever move of his," 
they said to one another, " see how neatly he has tied 
our hands, so that even though we act by the King's 
order, we cannot without deep disgrace take any active 

1 "Jam," inquiunt " triumphaliter gaudere valebimus, qui diem vidi- 
mus quo ad regis scaccarium Lincolniensis sedit episcopus." The main 
point of the jest seems to lie in this, that sedere ad scaccarium was a 
technical phrase used of those who were permanently and officially con- 
nected with the Exchequer. "Sitting at the Exchequer," says Madox 
(History, vol. i. p. 197), "is here to be understood of the Barons, or 
superior officers, whose service or attendance there was commonly during 
this period signified by the phrase sedendi ad scaccarium," (Cf. Dialogus de 
Scaccario, bk. i. ch. 8. ) It would seem that St. Hugh had always steadily 
set his face against ecclesiastics, and notably Bishops, devoting themselves 
so entirely to secular business as the Barons of the Exchequer were forced 
to do. In this particular year of St. Hugh's visit we find named amongst 
the Barons, Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey FitzPeter, the 
Justiciar, Philip, Bishop of Durham, the Bishop of London, Simon de 
Pateshull, Henry de Winchenton, Benedict the Jew of Talamunt, and 
Joseph Aaron the last two being described as Justiciarii Judceorum. 
There were probably other Barons besides these, but these are all the 
names that appear in the list given by Madox. (vol. ii. p. 315.) |_ED.| 


step against him." Then St. Hugh gave them all his 
blessing and withdrew, and a few days after crossed the 
Channel on his way to join the King in Normandy. 

Before he quitted England, however, yet another 
consolation awaited him at Rochester. As he was 
passing through this town, he crossed the bridge over 
the River Medway, and there met an unfortunate young 
man who, as he afterwards discovered, had formed a 
desperate resolution of committing suicide. When he 
saw the Bishop, the youth found courage to address 
him, and by means of an interpreter, eventually revealed 
his sad history. He had led a very wicked life, heaping 
sin upon sin, until one day he heard a sermon upon the 
grievous offence of God, and upon the special vice 
which had been his ruin. The burning words of the 
preacher filled him with shame and horror of himself. 
" I thought," he said, " that the earth would open at 
my feet, and that I should instantly be swallowed up in 
Hell. The whole of that day, and far into the night, I 
shed tears of anguish. Towards morning, worn out 
with fatigue, I fell into a short sleep. It was then that 
I saw before me a Lady of ineffable beauty, who 
consoled me in these words : * Poor child ! do not give 
way to despair. Think of the mercy and power of my 
Son, who wishes not that any one should perish 
eternally. Arise, and go to a priest whom thou 
knowest, and make to him a true and entire confession 
of all thy sins.'" 

The youth obeyed, and set out to find a priest, but 
he had not taken many steps when despair again sei/cd 
him, and an old man of hideous aspect, whom he 
afterwards believed to have been no other than Satan 
himself, met him, and insinuated that suicide was the 
only thing left for one who had committed so many 
grievous sins. This terrible thought had already- 
suggested itself to the unhappy man ; and he now 


forgot the consoling vision of the Mother of Mercy, and 
listened to the tempter. " I know," he added, " that 
self-destruction means eternal death. But this terrible 
thought has taken such hold of me, that twice to-day 
I have tried to throw myself into the river. The first 
time, there were too many people on the bridge, and I 
did not dare to accomplish my purpose. The second 
time, when I was nerving myself for the act, I saw you 
coming. And immediately, in the presence of your 
Holiness, my agony ceased, and I determined to tell 
you all." 1 

St. Hugh gave a kind and fatherly welcome to this 
prodigal son, so opportunely arrested in the way of 
perdition. He told the penitent sinner to take courage, 
gave him his blessing, and invited him to follow in his 
train to Canterbury, where they could speak together 
more fully. The young man thankfully accepted this 
proposal, and accompanied the Bishop to Canter- 
bury, in which city, during the fifteen days of his stay 
while waiting for favourable weather to embark, the Saint 
found time to perfect the conversion of the penitent 
whom he looked upon as sent to him by Mary, the 
Refuge of sinners. By his instructions and prayers, 
the young man was for ever delivered from his tempta- 
tions, and devoutly prepared himself to make a 
pilgrimage to Rome. But before his departure, he 
received another favour from the man of God. Two 
terrible ulcers were eating into his flesh, almost to the 
bone, as a famous physician of those days, Master 
Reginald Pistor, afterwards certified. 2 The holy Bishop 
wished to cure body as well as soul. He ordered some 
wax which was being warmed to make candles, to be 
applied to the horrible wounds. The remedy imme- 
diately took effect, and the ulcers cicatrized as suddenly 

1 Magnet, Vita, bk. iv. ch. 2. 

- In English presumably his name was Baker. [ED.] 


as they had come, without leaving a trace of their 
presence. Thus healed in body and soul, the young 
man received with all the usual solemnities the pilgrim's 
staff and wallet, and departed for the tomb 'of the 
Apostles. After receiving the benediction of the 
Sovereign Pontiff, he subsequently returned to England, 
and entered a Cistercian monastery as a lay-brother, 
where he became a model of regularity and religious 

We have still to record a conversion of a different 
stamp, which, although it occurred some time before 
the date of which we are now treating, may be 
appropriately mentioned here. It was the case of a 
young man much less guilty than the would-be suicide 
of Rochester, but perhaps even less fitted to all 
appearance for the mortified life of a monk. Those 
who are experienced in the guidance of souls, know 
that it is often more easy to touch the heart of a great 
sinner and bring him back-to God, than to induce an 
ordinary Christian to forsake his lukewarmness and 
vanity, and enter upon the path of perfection. 

St. Hugh had confided the charge of the treasures 
of his episcopal chapel to a young man called Martin, 
who was free from any conspicuous vices, but still 
considerably imbued with worldliness. Now it was 
the custom at that time, for any one who had care 
of the sacred vessels and other church ornaments, to have 
his hair cut short after the manner of a cleric, even 
though he was not actually in minor orders, besides 
wearing a special vestment during the ceremonies. 
St. Hugh therefore bade Martin to get his hair cut. 
But the sacristan was not at all disposed to make the 
sacrifice, and delayed obeying the Bishop's command, 
under various pretexts, for about three days. At the 
end of that time, St. Hugh was determined to put an 
end to this fit of wilfulness, of which he well understood 


the motive. So he followed his server into the sacristy 
after the celebration of Mass, and passing his hand 
through the offending locks, said to him : " Since you 
have not found a barber to clip you in orderly fashion, 
I myself must needs perform that office as best I may." 
Then he took the scissors, made the lad sit down, and 
the operation was soon over. 1 Martin made no 
resistance ; he only burst into tears ; but it was not for 
the loss of his hair. In that moment, he had received, 
and responded to, a call to perfection. He threw 
himself at the Bishop's feet, and said : " My Lord, I 
beg of you, by God's mercy, to listen to me. Since 
your Holiness has, with your own hand, deprived my 
head of the sign of vanity, I beseech you to finish the 
good work you have begun, and help me to forsake all 
the snares of the world ; I wish to be a monk. It is 
your act which has inspired me with this holy desire. 
From this moment, I consecrate myself entirely to God, 
and renounce all the pomps and vain joys of worldly 
men. Do you who have obtained this grace for me, 
help me to be faithful to it until death." 

St. Hugh wished to put this sudden vocation to the 
proof. He made no answer, and as the dinner-hour 
had arrived, he sat down to table as usual. The poor 
sacristan could take no food, and thought only of how 
to obtain his desire, which grew stronger and stronger. 
When the guests separated, he threw himself at the 
feet of those whom he thought likely to plead for him. 

1 It will be noticed from the seventh of the canons published by 
St. Hugh (cited above, p. 327), that clerics had two distinct rules to observe 
with regard to their hair. First, they were not to allow it to grow long, as 
was the custom with seculars in that age, and secondly, they were bound 
to wear the corona, or tonsure. In acting as barber to his sacristan, 
St. Hugh, it may be remarked, was simply interpreting literally a decree of 
the Council of Westminster (of 1175) which professed to re-enact a canon 
of the Council of Agatho, in the sixth century. " Clerics," so runs the 
ordinance, " who let their hair grow, must be shorn by the archdeacon, 
even against their will." (Hoveden, vol. ii. p. 74.) [Eo.] 


But although their prayers were united to his own, the 
holy Bishop still postponed his answer. Three days 
was Martin kept in suspense, as a punishment for his 
previous delay in obeying. At the end of that time, 
St. Hugh, being convinced of his sincerity, received 
him with the greatest kindness, and did all in 
his power to help him. He sent for the Prior of 
St. Neot's, a foundation dependent upon the Abbey of 
Bee, and obtained for Martin the coveted privilege 
of admission into the Novitiate. 

St. Hugh never lost sight of his former sacristan. 
He gave him the religious habit, assisted at his 
profession, defraying the cost of a feast on that 
occasion, admitted him to subdeacon's orders, and 
sent him to Bee, that he might be more thoroughly 
instructed in all the observances of his Order. \Ve 
learn from St. Hugh's biographer, who himself heard it 
from the Abbot and community of Bee, that Martin 
was in every way a credit to his patron, and was looked 
upon as a model of stability and virtue. 


It is difficult to believe that the author of the 
Vita has preserved quite a faithful account of the 
opinion expressed by the justices upon St. Hugh's 
doctrine of sanctuary. Certainly the contention was 
one which would have made the great lawyer Bracton, 
who flourished forty years later, open his eyes in 
astonishment. Bracton has treated the question of 
sanctuary with considerable fulness. In his pages the 
privilege appears not only as purely local, but as one 
which by no means allowed an offender to get off scot- 
free. The criminal who gained a consecrated church 
could not be forcibly dragged out by the officers of 


justice ; but on the other hand, it was the duty of the 
four neighbouring villages to surround the place to 
prevent his escape, and to send for a coroner. The 
coroner came and parleyed with the refugee, who then 
had to make choice between two alternatives : either 
to submit to trial, or to "abjure the realm." If he 
preferred the latter course, he chose or was assigned 
some definite port, and thither he had to make his way 
within a certain limit of time, travelling barefoot and 
bareheaded, in the garb of a penitent, with a white cross 
in his hand. There, as soon as he could find a ship to 
take him, he quitted England, binding himself by oath 
never to return. All his property was confiscated, and if 
he broke his oath and came back, his fate was that of an 
outlaw. Supposing that the criminal claiming sanctuary 
would neither submit to trial nor abjure the realm, then 
the Bishop or parish priest had the right of ejecting 
him forcibly from the church, but as this violence was 
not looked upon with favour, Bracton suggests that 
after forty days the criminal should be starved into 
submission. 1 

The plea set up by St. Hugh contradicts the teaching 
of Bracton in two most important particulars. In the 
first place he considers the privilege of sanctuary as 
attaching both to the precincts of the consecrated 
church, and also to the person of the Bishop ; and 
secondly, he applies it not only to the fugitive whose 
guilt has not been legally attested, but to the criminal 
already tried and sentenced. A prisoner already con- 
victed, according to Bracton, 2 ought not to be allowed 
the benefit of sanctuary. Still the lawyer is evidently 
puzzled by the problem presented if even a convicted 

1 Bracton, De Legibus Anglice, Edit. Twiss, vol. ii. pp. 392 396 ; 
Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, vol. ii. p. 588 ; A. Reville, 
" L'Abjuratio Regni," Revue Historique, September, 1892, pp. i 42. 

' P- 395- 


criminal, having gained the church, will not leave, and 
the Bishop will not consent to starve him out. 

On the other hand, St. Hugh's contention may be 
considered to derive some sort of vague support from 
a section in the so-called Laws of Edward the Confessor. 
There is nothing whatever to connect this miniature 
code with the Sovereign whose name it bears, but 
in the time of Roger Hoveden, St. Hugh's contem- 
temporary, it was believed that William the Conqueror 
made inquiry into the customs which obtained in 
England before his coming, and drew up these laws as 
the result of his investigations. Now this code, besides 
making in its first section a strong assertion of the 
personal immunity of ecclesiastics, chrici . . . pacem Dei 
ct sancta ecclesice habeant, which extends to all their 
property and possessions ; proceeds in cap. v. to define 
the right of sanctuary in the following terms : " When- 
ever any suspect or criminal takes refuge in a church 
for safety's sake, let him on no account be seized by 
any pursuer from the moment he has gained the 
entrance of the church, unless it be by the Bishop or 
his minister." 

And this is further extended by the clause which 
follows : " And if in his flight he (the criminal) enter 
the house of a priest or his court (curia], let him enjoy 
the same peace and security which he would have 
enjoyed in a church, providing always that the house 
or court of the priest be situated upon the domain 
(feodo or fund o) of the church." 1 

The fact seems to be, that there was a deep but 
rather ill defined sentiment in the heart of the people, 
that the peace of God surrounded as a sort of 
atmosphere or halo, the persons of those specially con- 
secrated to His service. The sentiment was not even 
exclusively Christian, for the vestal virgins in pagan 

i Schmifl, />/f (n^ct~c der AngclsadncH, p. 493. 


Rome had the acknowledged right of obtaining the 
pardon of any criminal whom they accidentally met on 
his way to execution. Among the Celtic races the right 
of sanctuary was so respected, that King Meirchion, 
according to the legend, dared not drag a hunted stag 
from the feet of St. Illtyd, where it had sought safety. 
This is suggestive of a personal rather than a merely 
local privilege, and the same feature may be recognized 
in several other early stories of Irish origin. 1 So too 
there are a good many mediaeval examples of this sort 
of protection attaching to the person of Bishops or 
Abbots. I may content myself here with referring to 
perhaps the most famous instance, that of the rescue of 
a criminal on his way to execution by the great St. 
Bernard. The Saint begged that the prisoner might be 
surrendered to him. To which the officers replied that 
the man deserved no mercy. Then St. Bernard declared 
it was far from his intention that he should go unscathed, 
on the contrary, that the law provided a punishment 
much too lenient. "I," he said, "will make him live 
long years, and crucify him every day." St. Bernard 
fulfilled his promise, for the poor criminal's heart was 
touched, and he spent the rest of his life as a monk of 

Beyond this somewhat vague testimony of tradition, 
I do not know of any direct warrant for the Bishop 
of Lincoln's claim to rescue prisoners. 2 It would not 
be wise, however, to speak too positively, for St. Hugh 
seems to have been a most diligent student of ecclesi- 

1 See Skene's Celtic Scotland, vol. ii. p. 65. 

2 Perhaps the nearest approach to a parallel case is the right of sanc- 
tuary recognized by some mediaeval authorities as attaching to a priest 
when carrying the Blessed Sacrament. This right was confirmed in the 
Pragmatic Sanction of Charles VII. (1438) in the following terms : " Con- 
fugiens ad Christi Corpus dum portatur in via gaudet immunitate," &c. 
Cf., on the whole subject, Thomassinus, Vetus Ecclesice Disciplina, 
especially ii. 3, 99, and 100. 


astical law. It is remarkable that in many of the 
actions of his life in which he seemed to be guilty of 
singularity, he was in reality only carrying out the 
canons which other men were bound by but neglected. 
His opposition, for instance, to the employment of 
clerics in secular functions, illustrated in the present 
chapter by his horror at the idea of being mistaken for 
a Baron of the Exchequer, was justified and no doubt 
inspired by the repeated Papal denunciations of him who, 
"being a soldier to God, entangleth himself in secular 
business." 1 So his refusal to bestow the usual honora- 
rium upon the Archdeacon of Canterbury, who en- 
throned him, must, no doubt, find its explanation in 
the very emphatic prohibition of such fees in another 
pronouncement of Alexander III., Cum in ecclesia corpore.- 
The countenance lent by the Council of Westminster 
to his act in forcibly cutting his sacristan's hair, has 
already been pointed out in a foot-note. [Eo.] 

1 2 Timothy ii. 4, quoted in a decree of Alexander III., Clcrici in 
subdiaconatu. See Hoveden, vol. ii. p. 188 ; Benedict, i. p. 236. This 
became section 12 of the canons of the Third Council of Lateran. 
Numerous decrees of similar import might be cited from earlier centuries. 
Of the enactments belonging to this period, I may refer to the Council of 
Westminster (1175) canon^, and the Council of Rouen (1190) canons 9 
and 10. 

* Hoveden, vol. ii. p. 174 ; Benedict, i. p. 225. 


HUGH arrived in Normandy a few days after Septua- 
gesima Sunday, in February, 1199. He. there found 
the Papal Legate, Peter of Capua, who had just 
succeeded in concluding a five years' truce between 
England and France. This was a fortunate opportunity 
for him to plead his cause with the representative of 
Innocent III. And the Legate, on his part, was glad 
of the information which St. Hugh could give of the 
condition of the Church in England. Two or three 
weeks were spent in these conferences, and we regret 
that no record of them has come down to us. 

When Lent had well begun, the Bishop of Lincoln 
repaired to Angers, and received hospitality in a manor- 
house belonging to the Abbey of St. Nicholas, on the 
River Brionneau, near that town. 1 St. Hugh waited 
there for a favourable opportunity of getting an audience 
with the King, who had just then begun a new 
campaign against some of his rebellious barons. 
During his stay at the manor-house, St. Hugh was 

1 The important priory of Spalding in Lincolnshire was a cell of the 
Abbey of St. Nicholas at Angers. It is easy, therefore, to understand 
that the monks of St. Nicholas would be very willing to show hospitality 
to the Bishop of the diocese in which such a considerable dependency of 
theirs was situated. In the very next year we have a charter of King John 
dated April 2ist, confirming the priory and possessions of Spalding to the 
monks of Angers. It is probable that such a document would not have 
been executed without some reference to St. Hugh, though his name does 
not occur among the witnesses. 


invited by some Grandmontese monks to conduct the 
ordinations in their monastery, at no great distance 
from Angers. 1 He willingly acceded to their request ; 
hut he manifested a strange reluctance to ordain one 
particular candidate who presented himself to receive 
the subdiaconate on that occasion. There was nothing 
apparently against his being admitted to Orders. The 
Bishop himself knew the young man, who was also 
highly recommended by the Archdeacon of Oxford, 
Walter Map. Nevertheless, St. Hugh persisted in his 
refusal to ordain him, and even showed a certain irrita- 
tion at being pressed to do so, which much astonished 
his own chaplains. But a very short time afterwards 
his conduct on this occasion was fully explained. The 
poor young cleric was attacked by leprosy. Then it 
was understood that the man of God had foreseen the 
sad calamity, and had had good reason for refusing 
Holy Orders to one whose affliction would have unfitted 
him for the duties of the ministry. In spite of his own 
tender affection for lepers, and his loving care of them, 
Hugh was penetrated with the idea that those set apart 
for the service of Almighty God should be free from 
blemish, not only in soul, but, if possible, in body also. 
God, who reveals or conceals trie future from His 
servants, according to His own wise counsels, had not 
yet enlightened the Saint as to the final outcome of his 
conflict with the King. And now alarming rumours 
began to spread consternation amongst those who 
surrounded him. It was said that the King was so 
infuriated that he was determined to inflict a pitiless 
vengeance on all his enemies, counting amongst their 
number the Bishop of Lincoln and all his clergy. This 
might, of course, prove to be mere gossip, but the 
sanguinary war he was then waging against Ademar, 

1 It was at la Haye-des-Bonshommes, near the forest of Craon, in the 
parish of Avrille. 


Viscount of Limoges, seemed to confirm the sinister 
tidings. Ademar, who was a vassal of the King of 
England, had lately discovered a considerable treasure, 
and had sent a part of it only to his Sovereign. Richard 
claimed the whole, and when it was refused to him, 
came to take it by force of arms. He laid siege to the 
Castle of Chalus-Chabrol, where, as he imagined, the 
treasure was concealed. 

Such is the account of Roger Hoveden, which is 
reproduced by the greater number of historians. But 
the Abbe Arbellot, author of a paper called La Verite 
stir la Mort de Richard Cceur de Lion, 1 contends that this 
war had a more honourable cause. The King of England 
had given some offence to Ademar of Limoges, and his 
brother, the Comte de Perigord, whereupon both noble- 
men, by way of revenge, had tendered allegiance to the 
King of France. Therefore they were, it is urged, in 
actual rebellion against their lawful Sovereign, when he 
declared war against them. 

We are told that the garrison of Chalus wished to 
surrender on condition of being allowed to escape with 
their lives, but that the King told them to prepare for 
the worst, as he intended to take the castle by storm, 
and hang all the defenders. If this circumstance is 
true, it certainly shows that Richard's exasperation 
was extreme. 

St. Hugh had now to defend himself against the 
discouragement and pusillanimity of his own clergy, 
who were not only in terror of the King's vengeance, 
but were furthermore discontented and inclined to sulk 
at the difficulties raised against the promotion of one of 
their number to a bishopric. This was Walter Map, 
Archdeacon of Oxford, 2 who had been proposed as a 

1 Paris : Haton, 1878. 

2 As Walter Map, who was precentor, chancellor, and afterwards arch- 
deacon in the diocese of Lincoln, seems to have lived on more or less 


candidate for the see of Hereford. The principal 
canons of Hereford had just arrived in Angers, to seek 
an interview with the King, but it was easy to foresee 
that any canon or archdeacon from the diocese of 
Lincoln could expect no favourable reception from 
Richard, until their Bishop had made his submission. 

All this, of course, tended to make the canons of 
Lincoln very dissatisfied with the uncompromising 
attitude of St. Hugh. They determined to try if the 
force of numbers could shake his resolution, and to that 
end an understanding was come to amongst them which 
included not only the Bishop's own clergy, but the 
canons of Hereford as well, and with them several 
prebendaries of Angers, the Dean of the Chapter at 
their head. One day, in the middle of Lent, all these 
distinguished ecclesiastics attacked St. Hugh together, 
and exhausted their eloquence in trying to persuade the 
Saint to follow the oft-repeated advice given by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury? namely, to send a messenger 
to the King with a large sum of money. " By this 
means," they said, "you will free yourself from any 
further care or trouble, and you will be able to return 
to your diocese immediately. Reflect, that there is no 
time to be lost. All the provinces here are experiencing 
the horrors of war ; the people are terrified ; every town 
and every village is under the influence of panic. There 

intimate terms with St. Hugh, it is worth while to point out that nothing can 
be more uncertain than the authorship of much of the literary work commonly 
attributed to him. It is no doubt true that he allowed himself a good deal 
of freedom in his criticisms of men and things, inveighing especially against 
the monks with much bitterness this we may learn from his undisputed 
work, the De Nugis Curia Hum, and from Giraldus. But we may acquit 
him of any connection with the scurrilous and ribald verse which has been 
fathered upon him. The famous drinking-song, in particular, Meum est 
propositum in taberna mori, though this perhaps is less open to objection 
than some others amongst his supposed works, has no claim to be known as 
hK See Mr. H. L. Ward's Catalogue of Romances in the British Museum, 
and the article on Map in the Dictionary of National Hiography. [ED.] 


is no place of safety to be found anywhere, either in the 
cities or in the country. Very soon, it will be folly to 
remain here ; and yet we shall no longer have it in our 
power to depart even if we wish to." 

One after another the canons strove to paint the 
gloomy outlook to their Bishop in the most sombre 
colours. They continued their entreaties from earl}/ 
morning till late into the evening. The torment in- 
flicted on holy Job by his well-meaning but vexatious 
friends, could hardly have been greater than that 
experienced by our Saint, who was not only sensitive 
by nature, but sincerely attached to his clergy. Torn 
asunder, as it were, between the dread of making con- 
cessions of which his conscience disapproved, and the 
necessity of grieving so many beloved and honoured 
friends, he seems to have endured a martyrdom. 
Nevertheless, he persevered in upholding the cause of 
ecclesiastical liberty, and tried to persuade those who 
differed from him that it wastheir duty also to support 
it. "Your reasons," he said, "are no reasons. To 
act as you are advising me to act, would be not to save 
our cause, but to lose it, and to lose it with dishonour, 
for we should cast the dignity and liberty of the Church 
under the feet of the secular power, without obtaining 
in the end the peace which we desire. If to-day we 
purchase this peace at an exorbitant price, we shall 
find it broken to-morrow, and we shall have to begin 
all our work over again." 

The party in favour of concession, emboldened by 
its numbers, and by the circumstances of the case, was 
determined to prevail. The canons continued their 
arguments and entreaties, until the soul of St. Hugh 
was filled with bitterness. Never before .had he been 
so completely abandoned by those whom he specially 
loved and trusted. If he had been contending with 
courtiers or even with Kings, he would have known 


how to reply, and would have silenced them with 
peremptory answers. But he could not readily resign 
himself to a serious rupture with old and tried friends, 
and yet he saw them hopelessly obstinate in opposing 
their judgment to his own. Contrary to his wont, he 
determined to give them no final answer that evening, 
and he said to them at last, completely wearied out : ** My 
brothers, that is enough for to-day; to-morrow morning, 
with the help of God, we will together make that 
decision which will be most for His glory. \Ye know 
by experience that the silence of the night is a good 

When at length he found himself alone with one 
faithful friend, he confessed that he had never gone 
through such a time of anguish. He threw himself on 
his knees to pray : for there is no other remedy so 
effectual as prayer for this agony of the soul ; and our 
Divine Lord knew this, when He left us the example 
of His prayer in Gethsamane. Hugh then besought 
God to put an end to his perplexities, and to show him 
how he could act without scandalizing his friends or 
being too obstinate, and yet without failing in his duty 
to God and the Church. Here was his great difficulty. 
He had often triumphed in the past, but it seemed to 
him that this case was quite different, and he knew 
not how to decide. He lay down to rest, still full of 
these thoughts and bereft for once of the peace of soul 
he habitually enjoyed. Sleep came to his eyes at last, 
and in his sleep a miraculous dream was sent to 
console and guide him. He heard a heavenly voice, 
which repeated the words of the Psalmist : " God is 
wonderful in His saints; the God of Israel is He who 
will give power and strength to His people. Blessed 
be God." 1 

He awoke, and rose at once in perfect peace. His 

1 Psulin Ixvii. 36. 


doubts and fears were gone. As soon as he could find 
his chaplain, he came to confess his fault of the evening 
before. He accused himself, with deep grief, of want 
of trust in God, and of not having at once silenced the 
unworthy proposals which had been made to him. " I 
hope," he added, "that God will be merciful to me, a 
penitent sinner, and that He will still help me to do 
His will and fight His battles to the last." 

The next morning his friends did not appear : pro- 
bably, they began to understand what pain they had 
been giving him, and how useless their remonstrances 
had been. A few more days went by, and St. Hugh 
received a visit from the Abbess Matilda of Fontevrault, 
who came to give him secret information of the most 
serious importance. The King was lying grievously 
wounded, and appeared to be drawing near his end. 1 

This was what had taken place. On the 26th of 
March, probably the very day on which the Saint had 
gone through a time of such intense anguish, Richard, 
accompanied by Marchadeus, was riding round the walls 
of the Castle of Chalus to determine what point in the 
defences seemed most practicable for an assault. As 
he advanced, with careless daring, close to the besieged 
fortress, he was struck by an arrow which pierced his 
left shoulder. In a fit of passion, he ordered the attack 

1 As soon as the King of England was aware of his danger, he sent to 
tell his mother, Queen Eleanor, who was then at the Abbey of Fontevrault. 
She set out at once for the bed-side of her son, without telling any one but 
the Abbess the reason of her journey. Matilda III., Abbess of Fontevrault, 
thus informed of the news which was otherwise to be kept secret, and 
knowing also the grave situation of Hugh of Lincoln, hastened herself to 
Angers, to acquaint him with what had taken place at Chalus. "It is 
not absolutely certain," she said, "that the King will die, but it is very 
probable." (Dom Paul Piolin, Voyage de St. Hugues, Eveque de Lincoln, 
a travers I'Anjouet le Maine en I' annee ngq, p. 8. Angers, 1889.) It 
was originally printed in the Revue de I'Anjou, vol. xix. This learned and 
able work has been of great service in checking the topographical details of 
the present and succeeding chapters. 


to begin at once, and in a very short space of time the 
castle was taken. The King ordered all the soldiers of 
the garrison to be hanged, with the exception of the 
archer who had wounded him, by name Peter Basil, 1 
who, it seems, was reserved for a more cruel punish- 
ment. But these acts of vengeance could not cure the 
wound he had received, and its serious nature was 
soon apparent. The head of the arrow remained in 
the shoulder, and when the surgeons attempted to 
draw it out, it broke. Mortification set in, and that 
was equivalent to a sentence of death. Then the faith 
of Richard of the Lion Heart revived. He made an 
exact confession of all his sins to his chaplain, with full 
consciousness and deep contrition. The chaplain was 
Milo, the Cistercian Abbot of Notre Dame du Pin, in 
the diocese of Poitiers. The King then sent for the 
archer who had wounded him, and freely pardoned him, 
ordering him to be set at liberty, and giving him a 
present of a hundred shillings, that he might return to 
his own country.- After this act of Christian generosity, 
the King died on the 6th of April, being only forty-two 
years of age. 3 

1 There is a curious conflict of testimony as to the name of the man 
who shot Richard Coeur de Lion. R. Uiceto, Wendover, and others call 
him Peter Basil ; but Gervase calls him John Sabra/, and William le 
Breton, Guy. Most English historians have followed Hoveden in naming 
him Bertrand de Gourdon, but there are serious difficulties against this 
view. See Norgate, England under the Angevin Kind's, ii. p. 385, note. 

a Unfortunately, the savage M;irchadeus was present. Unknown to 
the dying King, he ordered the wretched archer to be flayed alive and then 
hanged. According to another account, the execution of this brutal sentence 
was due to Jane, the sister of King Richard, and the wife of Raymond VI. 
Count of Toulouse. \\Lu. \ 

3 Queen Eleanor, in a charter signed only a few days after the death of 
her son, said that no one had more to do with his edifying end, than 
Lucas, Abbot of Torpenay, of the Order of St. Benedict, in the diocese of 
Tours. (Dom Paul Piolin, op. cit. p. 10.) 


Yet he had lived too long for his renown, and one is 
disposed to wish that the hero of the Third Crusade 
had perished more nobly, and in a war more worthy of 
his fame. God ordered it otherwise, but gave him the 
grace of repentance before he died. If he had always 
been faithful to the inspirations of faith and to the 
counsels of St. Hugh, he would not merely have given 
occasional glimpses of a noble and chivalrous nature, 
but he, too, might have been distinguished by the 
virtuous life, the devotion to the Church and to his 
people, the unfailing benevolence, and the combination 
of wise and good deeds, which were soon to shine forth 
in the person of another King, as brave and fearless as 
he St. Louis of France, the typical Christian hero of 
the middle ages. 

The Sieur de Joinville, the faithful friend and 
chronicler of St. Louis, tells us that more than once in 
Palestine, his royal master came upon the traces of 
Richard of the Lion Heart, and on one particular 
occasion was pleased to imitate his example. It was 
a question whether * the saintly King should visit 
Jerusalem as a simple pilgrim, seeing that he had not 
been able to conquer it by force of arms. He was 
told that when Richard of England was near the 
Holy City, without any hope of being able to effect an 
entrance there with his troops, one of his knights cried 
out to him: "Sire, Sire, come here, and I will show 
you the city of Jerusalem." But Richard, so ran the 
story, at once held his shield before his eyes, and 
bursting into tears, exclaimed: "O my Lord God! 
suffer me riot to see Thy Holy City, since I am not 
able to deliver it ! " 1 St. Louis himself could not have 
spoken more beautiful and Christian words, and he felt 
honoured in imitating the example of his English 
precursor. This incident may well serve as our final 

1 Joinville, Histoire de Saint Louis, ch. cviii. 


tribute to the memory of the famous English monarch, 
while it helps to explain something of the sympathy 
and admiration which still cling round his name. Such 
noble sentiments and reverent deeds may plead the 
sinner's pardon, especially when they are ratified and 
confirmed in the moment of the soul's last return to 

As soon as the news of the King's death was 
brought to St. Hugh, he set out for Angers, where, 
in default of the Bishop, William of Chemille, 1 he 
had been invited by the Chapter to officiate on Palm 
Sunday. He was there met by an ecclesiastic, named 
Gilbert de Lacy, 2 who announced to him that Richard 
was to be buried at Fontevrault on the next day. 
St. Hugh drew a deep sigh, and immediately expressed 
his wish to assist at the funeral. His attendants tried 
to induce him to relinquish this idea, as the country 
was in a most dangerous state, ever since the news of 
the King's death had been made public. Brigands and 
highway robbers infested the roads, and travellers of all 
ranks were pillaged and ill-treated. 3 But St. Hugh was 
not to be turned from his purpose by the fear of any 

1 It does not seem clear that William of Chemill6 had yet been released 
from the sentence of suspension pronounced against him by order of 
Innocent III. for resigning his diocese of Avranches, and accepting that 
of Angers without reference to the Holy See. [Eo.] 

2 We can hardly be wrong in conjecturing that this Gilbert de Lacy 
must have been a member of the distinguished Norman family of de Lacys, 
who played so conspicuous a part in the early days of the English occupa- 
tion of Ireland. There is mention of a Gilbert de Lacy in the Rolls of 
the Norman Exchequer who was tenant of a fief in Normandy. (Stapleton, 
ii. p. Ixxi. ) This Gilbert, however, in 1215, had a son old enough to be 
hostage for his uncle Walter. As the Gilbert here mentioned is only 
described as a cleric, he may possibly have given up the idea of becoming 
a priest and married. Roger de Lacy, Constable of Chester and Governor 
of the Chateau Gaillard, was a comparatively distant connection. [Eo.] 

3 We learn from the iVfdgtiti I it<i that some of his servants who had 
come bringing him money from England, had been stopped by the brigands 
and robbed of forty marks. 


such dangers. " Nothing shall prevent me," he said, 
"from rendering the last duties to my Sovereign. The 
robbers may take all that I have, but unless they tie 
my feet together, they will not hinder me from going to 

He left most of his people at Angers, and set out, 
with scarcely any luggage, attended only by one cleric, 
one monk, 1 and a few servants. As he drew near the 
Castle of Beaufort, he was told that the widowed 
Queen Berengaria was living there. He left the high- 
road, and travelled through the forest, to pay her a 
visit, and offer her the sympathy and consolation she 
sorely needed. The virtuous Queen was overwhelmed 
with grief, but the words of St. Hugh were as healing 
balm to her troubled soul. 2 From him she learned how 
to bear her sorrow in patience, and to rejoice over her 
husband's repentance and reconciliation with God. 
St. Hugh celebrated Mass in her presence, and gave 
her a solemn benediction. He then proceeded on his 
journey, and arrived on the same day at Saumur, where 
the people met him, singing litanies, and showing him 
every mark of veneration. He rested that night at the 
house of Gilbert de Lacy, the ecclesiastic who had 
announced the King's death to him, and who was 
pursuing his studies in the town. 

On the next day, which was Palm Sunday, he 
arrived at Fontevrault just as the funeral ceremonies 
were beginning. He met the coffin of King Richard at 
the entrance door of the abbey church, and himself 
officiated at the Solemn Requiem and the burial service 
which followed. The mortal remains of the King were 

1 The monk must have been the Saint's chaplain, Adam, the author of 
the Magna Vita. [ED.] 

2 This reference to Queen Berengaria in the Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 10, 
is almost the only information we have of the manner of life of this sorely- 
tried lady in her later years. 


laid to rest, with the honour due to his rank, by the 
side of his father, Henry II. As the holy Bishop of 
Lincoln looked upon the last resting-place of these, two 
monarchs, he must have felt happy that his conscience 
had nothing to reproach him with in his conduct 
towards either. He had neither weakly yielded nor 
stubbornly opposed. He had been to each of them all 
that a Bishop should be to a temporal Sovereign 
a wise counsellor, always ready to speak the truth to 
ears too much accustomed to the flattery of courtiers ; 
a resolute champion of the Church, ready at all times 
to defend her rights against the encroachments of the 
secular power. And in defending the Church, he had 
been a true friend to the State and the monarchy 
also, for neither can become a persecutor of religion 
without attacking the principles of all dependence and 
undermining its own authority. 

After the funeral, St. Hugh returned to Saumur, 
where he spent a few days, being entertained by his 
host, Gilbert de Lacy, with much kindness and con- 
sideration. But on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednes- 
day of Holy Week, he again visited the Abbey of 
Fontevrault, to offer Mass each day, and recite the 
Office of the Dead for the Holy Souls and especially 
for the two monarchs he had served so faithfully. The 
thought of death which was at all times so familiar to 
him, must have come home with redoubled force beside 
the mortal remains of these two great Kings during 
that week consecrated to the memory of our Lord's 
sacred Passion. Who could avoid being impressed 
there with the vanity of all that this life has to offer, or 
fail to carry away a deeper sense of the eternal peace 
which succeeds the turmoil and the suffering of our 
efforts here below ? 

With the reign of Richard I. terminated the more 
stormy period of the life of our Saint. For ten years 


he had fought the battles of the Church, and had 
remained the victor in every field. But his life was 
now drawing to a close, and in the comparative tran- 
quillity of those last days we shall find him renewing 
the peaceful memories of his youth. 





THE successor of Richard I. was his brother John, 
surnamed Lackland, to the exclusion of his nephew, 
Arthur, Duke of Brittany, who was the son of Richard's 
elder brother Geoffrey. According to details given by 
St. Hugh's chaplain, which are very valuable for the 
light they throw upon this period of English history, 
Prince John,., having been accused by Richard of 
forming an alliance with the King of France, had 
therefore been deprived of his possessions ; and at 
the time of Richard's death, was staying with the 
Duke of Brittany. But Richard must have changed 
his mind with regard to his brother, for before he died, 
he declared John his successor. John immediately 
hastened to Chinon, where the royal treasury was, 
accompanied by a few of his friends, and there, on the 
Wednesday in Holy Week, April i4th, 1199, he was 
proclaimed King by Robert of Turnham x and several 
other English nobles, who did homage to him as their 
Sovereign. John then took a solemn oath to carry out 

1 Robert de Turnham, the brother of the Stephen mentioned above, 
P- 393. as having been charged by Richard to execute the decree of con- 
fiscation pronounced against St. Hugh, was the custodian of the royal 
treasure in Normandy at the time of Cceur de Lion's death, and surrendered 
this and the royal castles into the hands of John. Both Stephen and 
Robert de Turnham were present at the Homage of the King of Scots at 
Lincoln in November, 1200, and presumably at the funeral of St, Hugh 
which took place on the following day, [Eo,J 


the wishes of Richard, in all fidelity, and to respect the 
ancient laws and customs of the people he was about 
to govern. He was aware that his promises would not 
be very readily believed by those who had watched his 
conduct in the past, and it was part of his policy to 
give a sort of pledge of better behaviour by securing the 
countenance of the holy Bishop of Lincoln. 

St. Hugh was at Saumur, preparing for his return 
to England, when he received a message from John, 
begging to be honoured with a visit from him, as soon 
as possible. St. Hugh at once set out, and as he drew 
near Chinon, he saw the Prince coming to meet him. 
The Prince professed to be overjoyed at his arrival, 
dismounted from his horse, and advanced alone and 
unattended, to welcome the Bishop. Every mark of 
honour and veneration was lavished upon him, and he 
begged St. Hugh not to leave him again, until they 
could return together to England. Hugh excused 
himself for not being able to accept this invitation, but 
consented to accompany the Prince to Fontevrault and 
to Saumur. 

The visit which John now made to the tombs of his 
father and brother at Fontevrault, furnished the Saint 
with an excellent opportunity for giving him a useful 
lesson. As they were travelling towards the abbey, 
St. Hugh, who perhaps thought the admonition needed, 
took occasion to speak earnestly of the piety towards 
God, and of the mercy and justice towards all the 
world, which ought to distinguish a Christian King. 
John assured him that he was ready to follow the Bishop's 
advice in all things, that he looked upon him as his 
Father and Master, and would be guided entirely by 
his direction. How far any momentary flicker of 
sincerity may have been at the bottom of these 
professions it is impossible to say, but by way of 
showing that he wished to have no secrets from his 


new guide, it would seem that John drew from the 
folds of his robe, a stone set in gold, which he wore 
round his neck. It was for him a sort of talisman, as 
he proceeded to explain. " This stone," he said, " was 
given to one of my ancestors with the assurance that 
he and his descendants should never be deprived of 
their dominions, as long as they retained possession of 
it." " Take care," said St. Hugh, " not to put your 
trust in any material stone. Lean solely upon the 
living and heavenly Stone, which is our Lord Jesus 
Christ. Let your heart be anchored upon that sure 
rock and upon that alone. Remember that it is a 
Stone which can crush those who resist it, as well as 
support those who base their hope thereon." 

When at length they arrived at Fontevrault, the 
nuns gave the Prince a reception, well calculated to 
confirm any salutary impression he might have received 
during his conversation with St. Hugh. Surrounded 
by a brilliant train, he entered the abbey church, and 
knocked at the door of the choir, which was reserved 
for the Religious. He asked leave to enter, that he 
might visit the royal tombs, and recommend himself to 
the prayers of the community. On this two grave 
Sisters presented themselves, and told him that no one 
whatever was allowed to enter the enclosure save in the 
presence of the Abbess, who was then away from home. 
" Your Excellency," they continued, " will have to await 
her return, which will not be long delayed. Do not, we 
beg of you, be offended at our refusal to break our 
rules. Your illustrious father, upon whose soul may 
God have mercy, has set you the example of showing 
especial esteem for those religious communities who 
have always been faithful to the intentions of their 
founders." After this firm and dignified reply, these 
prudent virgins retired, shutting the door of the choir 
behind them, 


John then had recourse to the Bishop of Lincoln, 
and begged him to ask the prayers of the servants of 
Jesus Christ, and to inform them of various grants and 
concessions which he intended to make in their behalf. 
"You know," said the Saint, "that I have the greatest 
horror of anything that is not true. I must refuse to 
tell them anything of your promises, unless you really 
are resolved to keep them." Then the Prince swore 
to be faithful to his word, and said that he would also 
add new benefits to those he had already promised. 
St. Hugh accordingly repeated all this to the nuns, 
and begged them to commend the reign which was 
beginning to the protection of Almighty God. Then 
giving his blessing to all, he withdrew in company with 
the Prince. As they passed together through the porch 
of the church, the Bishop stopped John, and called his 
attention to a series of carved stone figures forming 
part of a representation of the Last Judgment. 1 " The 
church porch," he said, " is a good place to choose for 
such a subject. It is well to remind those who enter 
that they have need to implore God's pardon for their 
sins. Prayer is the best means to escape His judgments 
and to gain Heaven." Then, as he wished him to apply 
this lesson particularly to himself, he took him by the 
hand, and showed him that there were kings, in all the 
insignia of their rank, ranged amongst the reprobate 
on the left hand of the Supreme Judge. " Think of 
this," he continued, " and let the eternal punishment 
which is reserved for wicked kings, be constantly in 
your remembrance. Reflect upon the misery of those 
who being called upon to govern others, neglect to 

1 It would seem that no trace of these sculptures now remains. At 
least I can find no mention of them in the elaborate work on Fontevrault 
by the Abb6 Edouard. But groups of carved figures similar to that 
described in the text are not rare. There is a Last Judgment of this kind 
in the Cathedral of Amiens. [Eo.J 


govern themselves, and so become the slaves of demons. 
It is impossible to dread such a terrible fate too much ; 
we can only avoid it, by fearing it always." 

Then, in his turn, the Prince took the Bishop's hand, 
and led him to the opposite wall, where, ornamented 
with crowns of glory, were to be seen other kings in the 
number of the elect, conducted by angels to the joys of 
Paradise. " My Lord Bishop," he said, " these are 
the kings whom you should have shown to me. It is 
their example I intend to follow, that I may one day 
share their company for all eternity." 

There is something rather sickening about all 
these professions when viewed in the light of John's 
previous and subsequent conduct. St. Hugh's chaplain, 
writing his account of this episode, as he tells us inci- 
dentally, fourteen years later, while England still lay 
under the ban of interdict, breaks out into an indignant 
apostrophe of the faithless monarch. " Before the eyes 
of all the world," he complains, "there is verified of 
him the saying of Scripture : ' The wicked man when 
he cometh to the depth of sin contemneth.' 1 Though 
he has wrought every evil against God and his neigh- 
bour, against clergy and people, he despises the judg- 
ments of God, and heeds not the retribution which ere 
long must surely wait upon his misdeeds." 2 Even as it 
was, amid the hypocritical affectations of that first week, 
by which he sought to conciliate all who might prove 
dangerous opponents to his rather dubious title, John 
overacted his part. If a beggar by the wayside wished 
him good-luck the Prince bent his body, bowed his 
head low, and effusively spoke his thanks. Not a 
ragged old woman curtsied to him but he returned her 

1 Proverbs xviii. 3. 

2 Magna Vita, p. 291. The passage was probably written towards the 
end of 1212. The interdict was not finally removed until June 1213. 


salutation most graciously. 1 It is Hugh's chaplain, 
who was then constantly present at his side, who tells 
us these things. But with a man like John, utterly 
unaccustomed as he was to discipline or self-control, 
such manners could not last not even for a single 
week. It may be that by that time the new King had 
sufficiently felt the pulse of those around him to be 
satisfied that his position was tolerably secure, or it 
may be that the reaction from this unwonted and un- 
congenial self-restraint produced an explosion, but 
certain it is that on Easter morning, when the late 
King had just been seven days buried, John revealed 
himself at last in his true colours, and finally convinced 
the good Bishop of Lincoln that all the virtuous pro- 
fessions which preceded had been nothing more than a 
mask of hypocrisy. 2 

It was in the church at Beaufort that he kept the 
solemn feast, by assisting at the Pontifical Mass of 
the Bishop of Lincoln. When the time of the Offertory 
came, the Prince received from his chamberlain, 
according to custom, twelve pieces of gold, which he 
was to offer to the Prelate. He advanced to the altar, 
surrounded by his attendants, but instead of respect- 
fully presenting his offering, and kissing the Bishop's 
hand, as the usual ceremony prescribed, he stopped in 
front of him and stood examining the coins, rattling 
them about in his hand. Soon every one in the church 
was staring at him in astonishment. St. Hugh, indig- 
nant at such behaviour, said to John : " What are you 
looking at like that ? " " I," replied the Prince, " I 
am looking at these pieces of gold, and I am thinking 
that if I had had them a few days ago, I should not be 

i " Occurrentibus sibi mendicis et fausta imprecantibus corpore incur- 
vato et capita altius demisso gratias diligenter referebat : salutantes se 
pannosas etiam aniculas mitissime resalutabat. " (Magna Vita, ibid.) 

3 The text of the French original has not been adhered to in the fore- 
going paragraph. [Eu.J 


offering them to you to-day, but should have kept them 
in my purse. However, here they are : take them." 
The speech was grossly insulting, and St. Hugh felt 
it deeply. His cheek reddened, but it was not so much 
for himself as for the man who was so lost to all sense 
of reverence and propriety. Drawing back in indigna- 
tion, he would not now touch the gold, nor allow John 
to kiss his hand. " Put what you have into that plate," 
he said, with dignity, "and retire." The Prince obeyed. 
The silver dish, intended for ordinary offerings, received 
the gift so ungraciously proffered. But neither the 
Bishop, nor any of his people, would touch it. He had 
in fact made it a general rule, both for his chaplains 
and for himself, never to accept anything in the strange 
churches in which he chanced to officiate. 

After this incident, he began to preach the Word 
of God to the congregation who filled the church. He 
gave a long discourse on the conduct of good and bad 
princes, and of the rewards and punishments they 
would meet with. The people, who listened to him with 
rapt attention, expressed their admiration even audibly. 
Not so Prince John : the length of the sermon and its 
subject were equally distasteful to him ; and besides, 
he was fasting, and was impatient for the dinner-hour. 
Three times he sent to beg the Bishop to finish his 
sermon and proceed with the Holy Sacrifice. St. Hugh 
paid no attention to these admonitions, and would not 
leave the pulpit without preparing his hearers for the 
Paschal Communion they were going to receive from 
his hands. His fervent eloquence caused man}' of those 
present to shed tears, and stirred the devotion of all 
except the Prince, who did not receive Communion, 
either on that solemn day, nor even on the day of his 
coronation and anointing. 1 

1 Some persons, who had always been in his service, declared that he 
had never received Holy Communion since he came to years of discretion. 
(Magna Vita t bk. v. ch. 2.) 


On Easter Monday St. Hugh took leave of John 
Lackland. If he had cherished any illusions regarding 
the new King during the preceding week, they had all 
disappeared, and the outlook seemed to him more 
gloomy than ever. He could look for nothing from 
such a Sovereign as this, beyond a truce of longer or 
shorter duration, according to calculations of policy, 
and he foresaw that a very few years would bring the 
Church in England face to face with a new and terrible 
persecution. He still hoped to be able to do something 
to defer the crisis as long as possible, but that could not 
be much, and from this moment his most ardent longings 
were directed towards his heavenly home, which he felt 
was not far from him now. In the meantime he was 
longing to return to his diocese, to do all the good he 
could before death came to set him free. 

He set out on his journey, therefore, accompanied 
by Gilbert Glanville, Bishop of Rochester, and many 
other ecclesiastics from various dioceses. Although 
they formed a numerous party, the expedition was not 
without danger. The country they had to traverse was 
far from being entirely submissive to the rule of John, 
and young Arthur of Brittany, at his mother's instiga- 
tion, had come to rally partisans to his standard. 
St. Hugh, always full of trust in God, arrived at 
La Fleche on the igth of April, and at once went to 
the church to say Mass. He had not yet vested, when 
his servants ran up to him in great agitation. They 
told him that the magistrates of the town had taken 
forcible possession of his vehicles, and that thieves had 
stolen several of his baggage animals. The Bishop of 
Rochester and the rest of the clergy present begged 
him, under the circumstances, not to attempt to say 
Mass, but to content himself with hearing a Gospel 
read, and then to see what they could do to rescue 
themselves from their critical position. Hugh was 


absolutely deaf to their remonstrances, and persisted in 
going to the altar. He would not even be satisfied 
with a Low Mass, but was bent on celebrating pontifi- 
cally, with all solemnity. He put on the sandals, the 
tunic, the dalmatic, and all the other episcopal vest- 
ments, and offered the Holy Sacrifice with the greatest 
reverence and devotion, confident that he could find no 
more efficacious remedy than this. Finally, when .all 
the appointed ceremonies were finished, he withdrew 
and took off his vestments. No sooner had he ended 
than the magistrates of the town came to him with 
profuse and humble apologies for what had happened. 
They implored his forgiveness, promising him every 
security if he would pass the night at La Fleche, and 
offering an escort, if he preferred to continue his 
journey. The Bishop made them a gracious answer, 
accepted the escort, and immediately set out, arriving 
in the evening at the Abbey of Couture, which was 
situated on the outskirts of the town of Le Mans. 

The next morning, April 2oth, at break of day, 
while St. Hugh was reciting the Office of Matins, and 
according to his custom, was having the longer form of 
lessons read, 1 a great tumult was heard from the direction 
of the ramparts. The young Duke of Brittany, Prince 
Arthur, accompanied by his mother, Constance, was 
besieging the town, hoping to seize the person of his 
uncle and rival, John, who had actually arrived at 
Le Mans during the night, but who had left again 
immediately, fearing some trap would be laid for 

1 In the early middle ages the lessons read in the Divine Office were, as 
a rule, very considerably longer than those now in use. It would seem 
that no definite quantity was originally fixed for reading, and we find 
marginal notes in the MSS., inserted by a later hand, indicating where the 
reader is to stop. It followed that the lessons were much more arbitrarily 
curtailed by local authority or even without authority. Cf. Batiffol, 
Histoire du Brcviaire, p. 161 ; Dom S. Baumer, in the Katholik, Nov. 
1890, p. 406, Gesckichte dcs Breviers, pp. 335, 336. [Eo.] 


One of the attendants of the Bishop of Lincoln, 
named Gerard, having learned the cause of the disturb- 
ance, came in haste to tell the man of God, advising 
him to abridge the lessons of the Office, and set out 
before day had fully dawned, after the example of the 
other ecclesiastics, who had already taken flight. 
St. Hugh remained perfectly calm, and quietly finished 
his Office, without any abbreviation. This was really 
the cause of his escape, for the delay brought Robert, 
Abbot of La Couture, to his assistance, who guided 
him safely, by unfrequented paths, beyond the outskirts 
of Le Mans. 

His travelling companions were less fortunate. As 
they were hastily flying from the town, they fell into 
the hands of the besiegers, who ill-treated them and 
detained them as prisoners. 

St. Hugh had left in the care of the Abbot of 
St. Pierre two carriages, with several horses, and a 
portion of his baggage. These were all returned to 
him by the mother of Arthur of Brittany, who took 
possession of Le Mans on Wednesday, April 2ist. At 
the same time, Constance did not forget to recommend 
herself and her son to the prayers of the holy Bishop. 
His reputation stood so high that both parties were 
only anxious to prove the esteem and respect with 
which they regarded him. 

He now directed his course towards the town of 
Seez, but turned aside from the main road to visit the 
Abbot of Perseigne, 1 who had a great reputation for 
learning and sanetity. He did not find the Abbot, who 
had been commissioned by the Pope to preach the new 

1 Adam, the Cistercian Abbot of Perseigne (diocese of Le Mans), was 
consulted by many distinguished persons, who held him in high esteem. 
Among his works (Migne, Patrol, vol. ccxi.) is to be found a letter 
addressed to Dom Stephen de Chalmet, Prior of the Carthusian Monastery 
of Portes, treating at length of devotion to the Infant Jesus and His 
Blessed Mother. 


Crusade then in contemplation ; but without showing 
any impatience, he consoled himself by celebrating the 
Holy Mysteries. After that, continuing his journey, he 
reached his destination without further accident. 

In the meantime, John, after venting his wrath upon 
Angers and Le Mans, which towns had not acknow- 
ledged his sovereignty, proceeded to Rouen, where he 
was crowned with the ducal crown of Normandy on 
April 25th. In the middle of the ceremony, he was 
guilty of another act of irreverence, which did not pass 
without comment. When the Archbishop of Rouen 
placed the lance, surmounted by the ducal standard, in 
his hand, some young courtiers, who were standing 
behind him, shouted applause, which was mingled with 
outbursts of foolish laughter. John turned round to 
grimace back at them, and in so doing, carelessly 
allowed the standard to slip from his grasp and fall to 
the ground. Many of those present looked upon this 
as an omen of what actually happened shortly after- 
wards. In a few years, Normandy fell into the hands 
of Philip Augustus of France, and with it Anjou, 
Maine, and Touraine were also lost to England. 
St. Hugh was not present at this ceremony at Rouen, 
but he took part in the King's coronation at West- 
minster on the 27th of May. His return to his diocese 
was one long triumph. Everywhere on his way, the 
people came in crowds to meet him, and welcomed him 
with demonstrations of joy. His entry into the city of 
Lincoln recalled the memory of his first enthronement 
there. He returned to his children this time, bringing 
them the blessed gift of peace, which he had purchased 
at the cost of endless fatigue and many a bitter struggle. 
The spontaneous homage of his people was very different 
from the hypocritical professions of John Lackland, 
and must really have brought consolation to his fatherly 
heart. At the same time, even the insincerities of the 


new King were a tribute to the upright and intrepid 
character of the Bishop of Lincoln. John could not, 
for motives of policy, run counter to public opinion, 
and outrage the feelings of veneration with which 
St. Hugh was regarded throughout the whole kingdom. 



WE have been occupied so long in relating the political 
events with which St. Hugh was mixed up, often 
against his will, that we have partly lost sight of the 
more spiritual aspects of his character. The pastor 
and the ascetic have been forgotten in the champion of 
Church privileges. And yet he was always, and before 
all else, a pastor faithfully discharging all his duties to 
his flock ; an ascetic who preached by example as well 
as by precept ; in short, the true Carthusian Bishop, 
whom we have described in the second book of this 
work. We have now to show that, such as he was in 
the beginning of his episcopate, such he remained 
during the last year he spent in the midst of his people. 
The events of the last few months had only strength- 
ened his authority. W T hen Kings had given way before 
him, it was folly for his own subjects to think of resist- 
ance. And so he was able to bring to completion the 
work of reorganization and reform which had been his 
first care in undertaking the spiritual charge of the 
diocese. Moreover, both clergy and faithful united in one 
feeling of veneration for the holy Bishop, whose virtues 
had now reached their culmination, and shone with so 
bright a light that none could fail to be dazzled by it. 
While his benevolence took new developments, and 
was poured out without measure upon the humblest 


and most miserable of his children, his energy and 
zeal seemed to set at defiance the weakness of a body 
worn out with age and infirmity. There were some 
who prayed that his life might be prolonged even 
beyond the Scriptural limit of three score years and 
ten. But the holy man hoped otherwise, and seems to 
have had a presentiment that the end was not far off. 
This took him to Witham to begin his preparation for 
death by one of the retreats he loved so well. It must 
have been, we think, in the autumn of the same year 
1199, which witnessed his return to England after the 
death of King Richard, that St. Hugh visited his old 
monastery for the last time, his stay being made 
memorable by an event reputed miraculous. 

When his retreat was over, and he was about to 
return to Lincoln, the day before his departure, he went 
to the cell of each monk, to ask pardon for any bad 
example he might have given. The whole community 
was then assembled, and St. Hugh repeated the same 
act of humility in the presence of all. After this, the 
monks asked his pardon in their turn. There were 
many petitions for prayers exchanged between them 
with answering promises and benedictions ; and at last 
the Carthusian Bishop took a solemn farewell of the 
Prior, embraced his brothers in Religion, gave them all 
his blessing, and finally quitted them with his favourite 
formula of adieu : " I commend you to God, and to the 
word of His grace." l 

As he was to start on his journey very early the 
following morning, he went to spend the night in the 
house of the lay-brothers, near which his attendants 
were lodged. This was a distinct building, at some little 
distance, like the domus conversorum, or " lower house " 
at the Grande Chartreuse, in which Hugh in his early- 
days had acted as Prior. St. Hugh slept quietly for 

1 Acts xx. 32. 


some hours, and then rose to go into the church for the 
night Office. As he was reciting his Breviary, suddenly 
the windows on the west side were illuminated by a 
brilliant and vivid light. Some of the monks hastened 
out, to ascertain the cause of this phenomenon. They 
soon returned to tell the man of God that a kitchen 
close at hand near the lay-brothers' quarters was in 
flames. This kitchen, which was a temporary erec- 
tion, and had been put up for the convenience of the 
Bishop's people, was really only a wooden shed, covered 
with straw. Five or six paces from it was the guest- 
house, with its roof of very dry planks. Only a very 
little further on, were the cells of the lay-brothers, built 
also of wood, and offering the most dangerous sort of 
fuel for the flames. The church itself, and the whole 
domus conversorum, were threatened. 

Hugh at once realized the full danger of the situ- 
ation. For one moment he trembled for the buildings 
around him, but his trust in God returned almost 
immediately. He made the sign of the Cross several 
times in the direction of the fire, and, interrupting his 
Office, he prostrated himself at the foot of the altar. 
There he remained in earnest prayer until they came to 
tell him that all danger was over. The shed alone 
was consumed, and no one regretted its disappearance. 
The holy Bishop had already asked several times that 
it might be pulled down, and replaced by a stone 
building, as he anticipated some such accident as had 
now occurred. 

When the monks saw themselves thus preserved 
from a terrible disaster, they broke out into exclama- 
tions of thanksgiving and wonder. St. Hugh joined 
very simply in their expressions of gratitude to God, 
without appearing to observe that it was to him that 
they attributed this merciful intervention of Divine 
Providence. "Blessed be God!" he said; "not only has 


He saved us from present danger, but He has destroyed 
that which might have caused danger in the future." 

This was the Saint's last farewell to Witham, and it 
was a farewell worthy of him. His final legacy was 
to teach his brothers, not merely by word of mouth, 
but by an occurrence they all believed to be miraculous, 
a wonderful lesson of the power of prayer. 

He had another visit to make, to a place even 
dearer still, before he left earth for Heaven. How often, 
in exile and difficulty, had his heart turned to his old 
home, in the desert of the Grande Chartreuse ! Might 
he not behold once more this country of his soul, 
before his eyes closed for ever ? His longing was 
destined to be gratified ; and the opportunity came 
when John Lackland sent for him to be present at the 
signing of a peace between England and France, which 
took place near Andely, on the 22nd of May, 1200. 

Many of the conditions of this peace have been 
blamed, not perhaps without reason, especially those 
which set aside the claims of Prince Arthur of Brittany. 
But the Bishop of Lincoln must not be held responsible 
for this. His part in the transaction amounted to no 
more than a general approval of the pacific resolutions 
of the two monarchs, and a prayer for the happy issue 
of their discussions and negotiations. By the treaty of 
Andely, an agreement was come to as to the dower of 
Blanche of Castile, the niece of the King of England, 
and her union with the heir-presumptive of the crown 
of France was definitively settled. The marriage, in 
fact, was celebrated at Portmort, in Normandy, the 
day after the signing of the treaty. 1 The Archbishop of 
Bordeaux gave the nuptial benediction, in the presence 
of several Bishops, among whom was probably St. Hugh 
of Lincoln. Although no one could then foretell the 
future, the whole of France showed great joy at this 

1 Cf, Xors^it'-, l\ upland under the .-I /lift'- 'in A7//^s, vol. ii. p. 397, 


union. The manifestations of delight were for once 
justified by the event. No nobler Sovereign has ever 
adorned a throne than the fruit of this marriage, the 
illustrious St. Louis. But, at the time, the country 
simply rejoiced at what it was hoped would prove the 
reparation of many wrongs, and the term of that cruel 
strife which had laid the whole of the kingdom under 
an interdict. 

Ever since the month of February, the curse of the 
Church had rested on the land. The Papal Legate, 
not being able to induce Philip Augustus to take' back 
his lawful wife, the virtuous Queen Ingelburga, pro- 
nounced a sentence of general interdict, which was 
rigorously put into execution ; so rigorously, indeed, 
that the marriage of Blanche- of Castile had to take 
place in Normandy, and not upon the French territory 
over which her husband was afterwards to reign. 
Nothing can depict the consternation of a whole 
Christian people at thus seeing themselves deprived 
of all the ceremonies of the Church, and of almost all 
the channels of grace. It was the only means by which 
an outraged morality could assert itself, and by which 
Christendom could be taught the lesson that Kings are 
not superior to the obligations of ordinary Christians, 
nor excepted from the censures of the Vicar of Christ. 
The French King, thus punished through his people, 
was obliged at last to open his eyes to his true duties, 
and sacrifice his unholy love to the good of his subjects. 
Self-interest alone, in the absence of any higher motive, 
left him no choice between reconciliation with the Holy 
See and the loss of his kingdom. 

Philip Augustus hastened to return to Paris with 
the young bride and bridegroom, who were welcomed 
with great joy, as a pledge of the peace just signed 
with England, and on the eve of being concluded with 
the Church. The Bishop of Lincoln followed them to 


the capital shortly afterwards. And then, having 
obtained permission from King John and the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, he set out for the Grande 
Chartreuse, on the 3ist of May, 1200. The principal 
halting-places of his journey have been described to us 
by his chaplain, who wrote down from day to day his 
memories and impressions. 

As he travelled from Andely to Paris, he passed 
through Meulan, 1 where he venerated the relics of 
St. Nicasius, and after having made a generous 
offering at the shrine, he himself detached and took 
away with him a small portion of bone from the head 
of the holy martyr. At Saint-Denis again he was 
delighted to visit all the treasures of the famous 
abbe)', and stopped much longer before the shrines 
containing bodies of saints, than before the royal 
tombs. The object of his journey, as all his actions 
clearly showed, was not to satisfy his curiosity, but to 
find consolation in venerating the mortal remains of the 
blessed, or edification in the society of the holy men 
whom he was thus able to visit in the retirement of 
their monastic solitude. 

As he came out of the Abbey Church of St. Denis, 
he was greeted, it seems, by a crowd of ecclesiastics, 
belonging to almost every European nation. These 
were the students of the great University of Paris, who 
perhaps wished to honour St. Hugh, as the enlightened 
protector of many seats of learning, and in particular 
of the University of Oxford, 2 which was situated in the 
diocese of Lincoln, and had developed considerably 
under the episcopate of the Servant of God. Full of 
ardour and enthusiasm, these young men looked with 

1 There was a great leper-house at Meulan, which may also have 
specially attracted St. Hugh. See the Histoirt Litttraire de la France, 
vol. xx. p. 608. [ED.] 

' See the note at the end of this chapter. [Eo.] 


admiring eyes on this "oracle of the schools," 1 this 
champion of the Church and the clergy. Enthusiastic 
expressions of applause and satisfaction were heard on 
all sides. St. Hugh responded to them by endeavouring 
to give pleasure to all who pressed around him. To 
some he addressed words full of kindness, others he 
embraced, and he gave his blessing to those with whom 
he was unable to make closer acquaintance. All were 
proud to receive even a look from him, or any slight 
token of consideration. Many of them earnestly 
entreated him to become their guest. He accepted 
the invitation of Raymund, 2 afterwards a Canon of 
Lincoln and Archdeacon of Leicester, who, it is said, 
was distantly related to him, and who subsequently 
distinguished himself by his chivalrous conduct at the 
time of the interdict in England, which occurred some 
years later. Faithful to the example of St. Hugh, 
Raymund preferred disgrace and exile, to obeying the 
tyrannical commands of King John, and as his revenues 
were not confiscated, he shared them with the numerous 
victims of persecution. St. Hugh's former chaplain 
was one of those who participated in his bounty. He 
also was an exile for the good cause, and for three 
months received hospitality from Canon Raymund, for 
which he expresses his gratitude in the course of his 
biography of our Saint. 3 

It was, no doubt, in the house of this Canon that 
St. Hugh was visited by one of the most distinguished 

1 Abbot Adam tells us that St. Hugh was styled " scholarum consultor " 
by John of Leicester, in a distich inscribed on the Saint's tomb. (Magna 
Vita, pp. 303 and 377.) [ED.] 

8 From two entries in the Norman Exchequer Rolls which have come 
to my notice too late to be mentioned in their proper place, it appears that 
the person charged to convey the Carthusians to England in 1180 was 
named Raymund, and he is described as clericus Regis. It is just con- 
ceivable that he may be identical with the person here referred to. See 
Appendix. [ED.] 

3 Magna Vila, bk. v. ch, 13, 


theologians of the University of Paris. " My Lord 
Bishop," said the great man, "you have raised the 
glory of your Cathedral Church above all others, by 
drawing many of the most famous ecclesiastics thither. 
I will not disguise from you the great desire I have to 
associate myself with them, on any terms you may 
propose." " We will gladly receive you," answered 
the man of God, " but on two conditions only. One is, 
that you take up your residence amongst us. The 
other is, that the integrity of your life be as conspicuous 
as your learning." The great theologian l blushed at 
receiving this lesson, which he certainly deserved, and 
it is said, that he profited by it and amended his ways. 
Another visit showed the impression which the 
arrival of St. Hugh had made, not only on the 
University of Paris, but also on the French Court. 
The son of Philip Augustus, afterwards Louis VIII. 
came to his lodging, accompanied by Duke Arthur of 
Brittany. Hugh gave a fatherly welcome to both the 
young Princes. He embraced them affectionately, and 
proffered advice full of gentleness and wisdom. Prince 
Louis received these exhortations respectfully and 
gladly ; but Prince Arthur, on the contrary, was 
displeased, because he was exhorted to keep the 
peace with his uncle, the King of England. The 
Bishop had good reasons for giving him this counsel, 
and perhaps foresaw the melancholy end of the contest 
against which he warned him. Moreover, he did not 
suggest to the unfortunate young Duke any concession 
that it would have been dishonoura'ble to grant. Let 
it be said, however, that Prince Arthur was then only 

1 According to St. Hugh's biographer, this theologian was no other 
than the Rector of the University of Paris. " Praeerat enim scholis 
Parisiensibus, regens et ipse scholas." (Magna Vita, bk. iii. ch. n.) [The 
regens scholas is a technical term, and means no more than that he lectured 
to a class. The prceerat scholis may perhaps imply more, but not clearly 
the rectorship of the University. ED.] 


fourteen years of age, so that he may perhaps be 
excused for not understanding the benevolent intentions 
with which the advice was given. 

The interview terminated by a proposition from 
Prince Louis, that St. Hugh would honour him by 
visiting his bride, Blanche of Castile. Hugh consented 
with pleasure, and at once set out on foot for the 
royal palace, which was not far off. The Princess was 
rather distressed at an accident which had recently 
happened. Her husband had been slightly wounded 
in a tournament, 1 and she was disposed to look upon it 
as an omen of future misfortune. St. Hugh gently 
dissipated these fears, and spoke words of kindness and 
encouragement. After a few moments, peace and joy 
reappeared on the brow of the young bride ; her little 
trouble had flown before the infectious calmness and 
consoling chanty of the Saint. 

The remembrance of this kind visit, related to 
St. Louis by his mother in after-years, was not without 
its influence in the many favours he bestowed upon the 
Carthusian Order. 1 He founded a Carthusian Monastery 
in Paris, in the year 1257, and presented the Grande 
Chartreuse, among many other gifts, with a magnificent 
relic of the True Cross, and one of the thorns from the 
Holy Crown. 

Leaving Paris at last, St. Hugh proceeded to 
Troyes, passing by Jouy, where he taught the great 
lesson of faith, of which we have already spoken, by 

1 The suggestion that Louis had been wounded in a tournament, for 
which no ancient authority is quoted, though it is affirmed by modern 
writers, seems to me ridiculous. Louis at that time was only twelve and a 
half years old. His bride, Blanche of Castile, was a few months younger. 
See Elie Berger, Histoire de Blanche de Castille (1895), p. 10. Cf. Petit. 
Dutaillis, Etude sur Louis VIII. p. 3. [Eo.J 

1 Queen Blanche herself seems to have been especially attracted to the 
Cistercians, for whom she built the Abbey of Maubuisson, desiring, if it 
were God's will, to end her days there. See Berger, op. cit. p. 319. [Eo.] 


his refusal to contemplate the miraculous Host. 1 At 
Troyes, he saw as he was leaving the town, a miserable 
looking object coming towards him, who in a piteous 
voice begged for mercy. This was a former steward 
of Brackley, a village in the diocese of Lincoln, which 
belonged to the Earl of Leicester. The Earl, who was 
noted for great personal courage, was connected with all 
the highest families in England ; he also enjoyed the 
King's favour, and took advantage of it to exercise his 
authority with great arrogance and injustice, thus 
setting the worst possible example to his agents and 
officials. Especially was this bad example too faithfully 
followed on one particular occasion. A robber had taken 
refuge in the church at Brackley, but the agents of the 
Earl, disregarding the right of sanctuary, had dragged 
the unfortunate man from his asylum, and led him to 
the gallows. The Bishop of Lincoln was then in 
Normandy, just before King Richard's death. On his 
return, he excommunicated the authors of this outrage 
and their accomplices. The penance he imposed upon 
them was a severe and humiliating one ; it was intended 
to repair a great scandal, and to humble the pride of 
those against whom it was enforced. The officers of the 
Earl were to go, barefoot, although it was in the depth 
of winter, to the grave of the man who had been hanged ; 
they were to take up the decaying corpse, put it in a 
coffin and carry it to the cemetery of the church, where 
the right of sanctuary had been violated. 2 They were 
also to receive the discipline from the priests at 
Brackley, and afterwards from the clergy of every 
church in Lincoln, going from one church to another, 

1 See above, bk. iii. ch. vi. p. 346. 

2 In this and other actions of St. Hugh's life, which may at first sight 
seem somewhat bizarre, it will generally be discovered that he was only 
carrying out the ideas prevalent in his time. An example of a similar 
penance will be found referred to in the note at the end of this chapter. 


always with bare feet. Rather than incur the terrible 
consequences of St. Hugh's excommunication, all those 
who were guilty submitted to this severe penance, with 
the sole exception of the steward of Brackley, who 
preferred to leave England altogether, and to take 
refuge with his master, the Earl, who was then in 

This was the man who now at last presented 
himself before his Bishop, in the most piteous state 
imaginable. Since his voluntary exile, everything 
had gone wrong with him. Instead of being kindly 
received by the Earl of Leicester, he found himself in 
disgrace ; he had no money and no friends, and was 
reduced to the last extremity. He bitterly regretted 
his rejection of the rigorous terms offered by the 
man of God, and came to beg for absolution at the 
cost of any penance the Bishop might inflict. St. Hugh 
received this lost sheep with kindness and granted his 
request. The steward thankfully accepted the conditions 
imposed upon him, and peace was restored to his soul. 

Such an example could not fail to strike terror into 
all those that heard of it. The severity of St. Hugh 
whenever there was any question of ecclesiastical 
authority being despised or set at naught, taught 
clergy and laity alike to dread the censures of the 
Church, and to listen with respect to the voice of the 
Vicar of Christ. Almost unconsciously St. Hugh in 
this way lent powerful support to Pope Innocent III. 
and helped materially to enforce the interdict from 
which France had not yet been released. 



I am not aware of any definite allusion connecting 
St. Hugh's name with the University of Oxford. The 
suggestion made above, that the anxiety of the Parisian 
students to see him, was due to their interest in the 
rival seat of learning in England, is a mere conjecture, 
which has no foundation in the Magna Vita. Strangely 
enough, it is implied that what drew these young men 
around him was a desire for spiritual favours, " for," 
says his biographer, " after St. Nicholas (the patron 
of University students), there was no one to whom 
students owed so many graces." We have reason to 
believe, however, that Oxford did make great strides 
forward during the episcopate of St. Hugh. It is in the 
year 1190, that we read for the first time of a foreign 
student crossing the seas to go to " the common 
studium of letters which was at Oxford," 1 and in 
1192 Richard of Devizes speaks of the clerks of Oxford 
as so numerous that the city could hardly feed them. 
So also when we know that St. Hugh held his synods 
at Oxford, 2 and was a frequent visitor at Eynsham, 
which is close at hand, it is impossible to suppose that 
he took no interest in the Oxford schools. After all, 
the documentary history of the University can only be 
said to begin after St. Hugh's death, and it is a curious 
fact that the name of his chaplain and biographer, 
Adam, when Abbot of Eynsham, meets us in con- 
nection with the very earliest episode thus formally 
attested. The incident to which I refer is the famous 

1 Pertz, Man. Germ. Histor. xxiii. p. 467. See Rashdall, Universities 
of Europe, ii. p. 347. 

3 Giraldus Cambrensis, vol. i. pp. 259, 263, 264. It was also at 
Oxford, in 1197, that Abbot Samson, of Bury-St. -Edmunds, associated 
with St. Hugh,- it will be remembered, in the affair of the Coventry monks, 
entertained the expelled chapter, together with a numerous body of 
Oxford masters. (Memorials of Bury-St. -Edmunds, vol. i. p. 295.) 


suspendium clericorum, the hanging of the clerks, of 1209, 
which seems to have had for the most momentous of 
its consequences the foundation of a rival centre 
of scholarship at Cambridge. 1 An Oxford student had 
seduced and murdered a young girl of the town. The 
townsmen in their thirst for vengeance retaliated by 
hanging two of the students, who apparently were quite 
innocent of the crime. This was a most serious in- 
fringement of the privileges of the University. All 
who attended the schools were clerks and under 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction. The Bishop of Lincoln, or 
his representatives, alone had authority to try them 
and inflict punishment. As this happened during the 
Interdict, no redress could be looked for from King 
John, so the students simply deserted Oxford for the 
time and betook themselves to other seats of learning. 
Amongst the rest some seem to have set up schools in 
Cambridge, which in the course of years developed into 
a University. At Oxford things were not righted until 
after the removal of the Interdict, when the penitent 
townsmen at last, in 1214, accepted the judgment of 
the Papal Legate, Nicholas, Bishop of Tusculum. The 
sentence passed by him, too long to be quoted here, 
brings into prominent relief the supreme authority over 
the University claimed by the Bishop of Lincoln, 2 and 
presumably enjoyed without dispute in the time of 
St. Hugh and his predecessors. A severe penance was 
imposed upon the burghers. Amongst other things, 
they were ordered to go barefoot and bareheaded to 
the place where the clerks who had been hanged were 

1 Rashdall, Universities, vol. ii. 349 and 542. 

2 The name of the Bishop of Lincoln is mentioned no less than 
fourteen times. The townsmen are to execute everything in accordance 
with his mandate. Fifty of the leading townsmen are to swear to respect 
his authority, "nee aliquo modo machinabimini in his vel in aliis quod 
prasfati Lincolniensis Episcopi jurisdictio elidatur vel jus suum vel ecclesiae 
suas in aliquo minuatur." (Anstey, Munimenta, i. i.) Cf. Mrs. De Para- 
vicini, History of Balliol College, p. 17. 



buried, to disinter their bodies and to convey them to 
the churchyard. Furthermore, the townspeople were 
to remit a certain proportion of the charges of the 
hostels, to contribute a definite sum every year to the 
support of the poor scholars, and to provide a feast for 
a hundred of them on St. Nicholas' day. For some 
reason unexplained, Abbot Adam and the monks of 
Eynsham bound themselves to the then Bishop of 
Lincoln, Hugh de Wells, to discharge these last two 
obligations in lieu of the burghers of Oxford. 1 The 
original deed, which is still extant, contains no mention 
of any quid pro quo, and it is possible that Abbot Adam, 
trained in the generous school of St. Hugh, undertook 
this as a pure act of charity. Some rash benefactions 
of this sort, exaggerated by a community which perhaps 
had little sympathy with the higher aspirations of their 
Abbot, may have led to his being described in his old 
age as a dilapidator of the goods of the monastery. 
However this may be, it seems certain, from the docu- 
ments' 2 connected with the suspendium clericorum, that no 
special chancellor was appointed to the University until 
a later date, which fact must have made its dependence 
upon the Bishop of Lincoln before this time only the 
more immediate. 2 

1 It is curious that both in the judgment of the Bishop of Tusculum, 
and in the grant of Abbot Adam, the Bishop of Lincoln is referred to as 
Hugo tune Epis. Lincoln., where we should certainly expect nunc. It 
almost looks as if our Hugh, and not Hugh de Wells, were referred to, 
but this seems impossible. 

3 It might conceivably have been possible that the Chancellor of the 
Cathedral Chapter (it was William de Monte in St. Hugh's time, see above, 
p. 151) also acted as Chancellor of the University, but in the summary of 
Lincoln customs sent to Scotland in 1236, we find that the jurisdiction of 
the Chancellor over schools was at that time restricted to the county 
of Lincoln itself. (See Bradshaw and Wordsworth, Lincoln Cathedral 
Statutes, vol. ii. p. 160.) It may be that this was only a recent arrange- 
ment, and that previously the powers of the Cathedral ( ,'hancellor extended 
to the whole diocese. For a tribute of Alexander Neckam to the success 
ut the Lincoln schools under William de Monte, see Appendix. 



ON his way to Grenoble, St. Hugh wished to make 
a pilgrimage to visit the relics of St. Anthony, which 
had been brought from Constantinople to Dauphine, by 
a nobleman of that province, who had received them 
from the Greek Emperor. The history of this precious 
treasure is somewhat connected with the early history 
of the Carthusian Order, as St. Hugh's biographer 
takes care to tell us. The great Patriarch of the monks 
of the East almost seems to have wished to go before 
and prepare the way for his imitator, St. Bruno, for 
the latter built his first monastery at no great distance 
from the church where the body of St. Anthony had 
been deposited about fourteen years previously. 1 
According to the pious author whose account we are 
following, St. Anthony chose this resting-place, " on 
purpose to assist with his presence the new Carthusian 
hermitage ; being sufficiently near to his faithful dis- 
ciples, to watch over all that concerned their welfare ; 

1 It was in 1070 that the body of St. Anthony came into the possession 
of Jocelin, the Dauphinese noble in question ; and in 1084, St. Bruno 
established himself in the desert of the Grande Chartreuse. The Order of 
Antonines sprang into existence in 1090, and it is probable that St. Hugh's 
biographer had confused the two dates, as he speaks of the translation of 
the relics, as if it had taken place after St. Bruno entered the desert of the 
Grand Chartreuse, instead of before. (See, L Abbayc de Saint-Antoint en 
Dauphind, By L. T. Dassy, Priest and Missionary Oblate of Mary 
Immaculate. ) 


but not so near that their peace and solitude could be 
disturbed by the pilgrims who came to visit his 
shrine." 1 

The affection which the sons of St. Bruno felt, in 
their turn, for the great Egyptian monk, was strongly 
manifested in 1119, when Pope Calixtus II. consecrated 
the Church of St. Anthony. The holy relics were then 
taken out of their former shrine, and enclosed in a 
new reliquary of wood, which had been made by the 
Carthusian Prior, Dom Guigo I., the fourth successor 
of St. Bruno. The honour of touching the sacred bones 
was granted to the Carthusian who had brought this 
offering from Dom Guigo. This was Dom Soffred, 
Prior of the Carthusian Monastery of Ecouges. He 
probably carried back to the Grande Chartreuse some 
fragments of the relics.' 2 

St. Hugh celebrated Mass with great devotion at 
the altar of St. Anthony, and venerated the body which 
was sanctified by so many years of courageous penance. 
Afterwards, he visited the hospice, where the sufferers 

1 The distance from St. Antoine to the Grande Chartreuse is between 
thirty and forty miles. This certainly ought to have guaranteed the 
Carthusians from any encroachment on their privacy. [ItD.] 

2 Dom le Couteulx thus reconciles two different accounts ; that of 
St Hugh's chaplain, who speaks only of Dom Guigo, and that of Aymar 
Falco, author of the Historia Antoniana, who speaks only of Dom Soffred. 
We observe, also, that the first historian speaks of the reliquary as being 
made of yew, and the second, of cypress wood. These slight differences 
do not prevent the two versions from coinciding in everything that is 
essential, the chief of which is that the authenticity of the relics of 
St. Anthony was solemnly recognized, and also that the monks of the 
Carthusian Order were among the first to venerate them. With these relics 
was also preserved the tunic of St. Paul, the first hermit. (Dom le Couteulx, 
Ann. Ord. Cartus. vol. i. p. 230. Cf. Acta Santoritm, January I7th.) [li 
should be added that very grave doubts must be felt as to the authenticity 
of these relics. At the present moment it seems uncertain whether the 
remains venerated in the time of St. Hugh are preserved at Aries or at 
St. Antoine. Both churches claim the honour of possessing St. Anthony's 
body. See Verger, Vie de St. Antoine le Grand, and Petit, Histoirc des 
Reliques de St. Antoine. ED.J 


were lodged who had been attacked by the mysterious 
plague, called by the common people, "the sacred fire." 
The hope which these unfortunate creatures had placed 
in the protection of St. Anthony, was rewarded by 
many cures, of which St. Hugh's chaplain, who was 
an eye-witness of them, speaks with the greatest 
enthusiasm. * We were witnesses in this hospice," he 
says, "not merely of one or two, but of hundreds, or 
rather, I might say, of a countless multitude of prodigies. 
We saw young and old cured by St. Anthony of their 
terrible disease, and enjoying perfect health in what 
was left them of their bodies, notwithstanding the 
traces of it still to be seen in their limbs, which were 
frequently as if they had been burned or mutilated." 1 
St. Hugh also manifested his astonishment at all these 
marvels, and his regret that nothing had been written 
to make them more widely known. His biographer 
made a point of breaking this silence, and we should 
have cause to reproach ourselves, if we did not mention 
his testimony here, which was prior to the fuller 
details afterwards published concerning the Abbey and 
Hospice of St. Anthony. 2 

After leaving an abundant alms for the relief of the 
poor sufferers, and the Antonine monks 3 who tended 
them, the holy Bishop set out for Grenoble. On the 
way, several castles were pointed out to him which 
had been struck by lightning, as a punishment for 
outrages done by their owners upon the pilgrims of 
St. Anthony. The Bishop of Lincoln had no cause to 
fear similar usage ; for his name was popular throughout 
Dauphine, and he was welcomed and honoured as one 
of the most distinguished sons of that province. 

1 See further the note at the end of this chapter. [ED.] 

2 Magna Vila, bk. v. chs. 13, 14. 

3 The French author seems to be mistaken in supposing that the 
Antonine monks were already established at St. Didier. It was only in 
1296 that the old Benedictine monastery passed into their hands, [ED.] 


At Grenoble, his reception was almost a triumph. 
He made his entry into that city on the feast of St. John 
the Baptist, the special patron of the Carthusian Order. 
Public rejoicings were already in progress on account 
of the feast, and St. Hugh's arrival lent an additional 
zest to the holiday-making. The whole population 
went out to meet him, headed by John de Sassenage, 
the illustrious Bishop of Grenoble, who, it will be 
remembered, had decided that St. Hugh should be 
sent to Witham, and who had himself been a son of 
St. Bruno. He had governed his diocese for many 
years with the zeal and activity of a true apostle, and 
he was to display at the close of his life a still more 
generous devotion during the sufferings of his Hock 
from the terrible floods of 1219. Between the two 
Carthusian Bishops there was naturally a close bond 
of sympathy, and their meeting was a most affectionate 
one on both sides. 

The first greetings were exchanged outside the walls 
of the city, and then a solemn procession was formed, 
to conduct the man of God to the Cathedral. The 
streets were strewn with flowers, silken tapestries were 
hung from the windows, and the air rang with shouts 
of welcome and songs of joy. The whole city was 
en fete, and the people did all in their power to show 
their veneration for this beloved and honoured guest. 
St. Hugh sang High Mass in the Cathedral with his 
usual devotion ; and after the Gospel, preached a 
sermon, so full of fervour, that nearly all who heard it 
were moved to tears. Something of the deep feeling 
of gratitude which filled his heart at thus revisiting 
his native province for the first time since his consecra- 
tion as Bishop, must have shown itself in his words. 
He spoke not only as a father, but as a brother as 
well, and tears flowed still more abundantly, when, 
with perfect humility and simplicity, he recommended 


himself to the prayers of all, as one, " taken from the 
dunghill, and made to sit down with the princes of 
the Church." l 

The family of the Saint were present, and had their 
part in this ovation. His brother, William of Avalon, 
had made up his mind that St. Hugh was to christen 
his little son, now seven years old, and the full baptismal 
ceremonies had been deferred until this occasion. 2 
The Bishop of Grenoble was the godfather, but Peter 
of Avalon, who was one of the child's uncles, wished his 
own name to be given to the boy. St. Hugh objected to 
this, and repeated the words of the Gospel for the 
day: "Not so, but he shall be called John" a fitting 
reminder of the feast. The baptismal rite was performed 
with all solemnity by the Bishop of Lincoln, who 
afterwards spent the rest of the day with the Bishop 
of Grenoble, being entertained by the latter prelate 
with every kind and hospitable attention. 

On the following morning, June 25th, at break of 
day, St. Hugh left Grenoble, and took the path which 
led to the Grande Chartreuse. It was not long before 
the horses refused to carry their riders any further up 
the narrow mountain paths, which often skirted the very 
edge of the precipice. All were obliged to dismount, 
and perform the rest of the journey on foot. St. Hugh 
cheerfully put himself at the head of the party, and in 

1 Psalm cxii. 7. 

2 We think it is right to interpret in this manner the words of 
St. Hugh's biographer, baptizavit, for it seems hard to suppose that the 
Saint would have allowed so long a delay, if the child had not been 
previously baptized in private. In such a case the non-essential ceremonies 
may be supplied later. [It is curious, however, that a decree of the Synod 
of Westminster, which was held, as mentioned later on, a week after 
St. Hugh's return to England, prescribes that when a child, in a case of 
necessity, had been baptized by a layman, only those ceremonies should be 
supplied afterwards which followed the pouring of the water (sequentia 
immersionem non proecedentia per sacerdotem expleantur], Hoveden, 
iv. p. 130. ED.] 


spite of his age and the intense heat of the day, bore 
the fatigue as well as any of them. He was supported 
by the prospect of so soon resting in that beloved home 
from which he had been torn against his will. As they 
climbed higher and higher, the air grew purer, and the 
sweet perfume of the pine-clad mountains refreshed 
him with its fragrance. Who shall say what his 
feelings must have been when he passed the narrow 
defile shut in between two colossal walls of rock, where 
the little River Guiers comes thundering down, jealously 
guarding the entrance against all intruders. At last he 
found himself once more in that privileged spot which 
seems a thousand miles distant from all the world 
outside. He did not feel surprise that no triumphal 
procession of monks came out to greet him. The 
strictness of their enclosure, as he well knew, relieved 
him of such embarrassments, and, besides, he had 
taken measures to reach there during the meridiana, the 
mid-day siesta then allowed to the Carthusians, who 
did not retire to rest again after the night Office. He 
made a short halt at the " lower house," which recalled 
the time when he was Procurator of the Grande 
Chartreuse. Once more he paused to take breath 
beside the rustic bench, where in old days he had sat 
with St. Peter of Tarentaise, and as he wiped the 
sweat from his brow he chatted to his companion of 
the brave old man and the talks they had had together. 
So. in silence, and recollection, and a joy that had 
nothing of earth in it, he drew near once more to the 
dwelling which had been to him as the very " gate of 
Heaven." It was at that lovely season of the year 
when all nature seems to smile. The rocks were 
covered with verdure and flowers, the forests were 
clothed in beauty, and thousands of birds sang a 
chorus of gladness. This was a better welcome by 
far than the shouts of the people of Grenoble. Soon 


he mounted the last slope which led straight to the 
monastery, and stood still for a moment to drink in 
with his eyes the beauty of the place, of which he had 
once said: "This is my rest for ever and ever; here 
will I dwell, for I have chosen it." 1 In heart, he had 
never left it. There was the church in which he had 
said his first Mass ; in the graveyard hard by lay his 
old Superiors and Brothers ; there was the cloister 
which had sheltered his first years of solitude, there 
was the cell where he had prayed, and studied, and 
fought against the tempter. And here, at last, were to 
be seen his brothers in Religion, coming to meet him 
with a joy that was no less deep for the calm of perfect 
recollection. At their head walked the Prior, Dom 
Jancelin, who, since 1176, had governed the Carthusian 
Order with as much firmness as humility. 2 St. Hugh 
was delighted to speak with him of the progress of the 
family of St. Bruno, and of the numerous new founda- 
tions which had already been made, so that about 
thirty Carthusian monasteries had been represented at 
the last General Chapter of the Order. The Prior 
himself and his monks had also much to ask in their 
turn, and were eager to hear from the man of God of 
the events of his episcopate, and of his many trials and 

St. Hugh remained three weeks at the Grande 
Chartreuse, leading the same life as during his retreats 
at Witham, following all the exercises of the com- 
munity, especially the long night watches, and 
occupying one of the ordinary cells, probably that in 
which he had lived as a monk. He would have 
wished the solitude and silence of this too short stay 
to remain unbroken ; but this was impossible, as he 

1 Psalm cxxxi. 14. 

2 He died in 1233, having been Prior for fifty-eight years. At his death 
the Carthusian Order numbered more than fifty foundations. 


could not escape from the numerous visitors by whom 
he was besieged. As soon as his presence in the 
monastery was known, both ecclesiatics and lay-folk 
hastened to pay their respects to him, and to consult 
him about all their affairs. Bishops even came from 
a distance to be enlightened by that supernatural 
wisdom, the fame of which was in all men's mouths. 
Amongst his other visitors was the Prince-Bishop of 
Geneva, a former Prior of the Carthusian Monastery of 
Valon, whose virtue and humility had so impressed 
itself upon all, that even in this high dignity he was 
still best known as plain Brother Nanthelmus. 

He told the Bishop of Lincoln of the long persecu- 
tion he had suffered. For twelve years he had been 
exiled from his see, because he had vindicated the 
rights of his Church, as they had been proclaimed by 
his illustrious predecessor Arducius. He had excom- 
municated William I. Count of Geneva, whom at his 
request Frederick Barbarossa put under the ban of the 
Empire. But the Count had never submitted, and 
Geneva remained closed to its Bishop, who was obliged 
to visit the rest of his diocese more or less clandestinely. 

St. Hugh received Nanthelmus with true fraternal 
charity, consoled him, encouraged him, and promised 
him assistance. It seemed a favourable moment for 
overcoming the obstinacy of the Count, who was 
dangerously ill just then. St. Hugh sent two Priors of 
the Carthusian Order to visit him on his sick-bed, and 
to beg him to make peace with his spiritual father. 
The terms of the message were dictated by St. Hugh 
himself, but the immediate results were not encouraging. 
The Count gave the two Religious an exceedingly cold 
reception and ordered them rudely enough to return 
whence they came. 

After their departure, however, the words of the holy 
Bishop came back to his mind and seemed to leave him 


no peace. The good works he had done in his earlier 
life won him no doubt some special grace, and in the 
end he repaired his wrong-doing, and received full 
absolution. Thanks to this reconciliation, the Bishop 
of Geneva was able to return to his Cathedral, and 
William I. died in peace in the bosom of the Church. 1 

Besides the nobles and prelates who came to visit 
the man of God, there were other persons of much 
more humble station, who were no less anxious to see 
him and listen to his words of loving wisdom. These 
were the poor of the parish of St. Peter of Chartreuse. 
To be able to receive these with greater facility, and 
also to enjoy the society of the lay-brothers for a short 
time, St. Hugh spent some days at the " Correrie," 
or lower house. There he was delighted to see his 
old friends, who were equally delighted to be recognized 
by him. He welcomed them affectionately, chatted 
familiarly and graciously about their affairs, putting 
himself completely on an equality with them, after 
the example of his Divine Master. If it had not been 
for his religious habit, he might have been taken for 
one of them. His hand was opened as widely as his 
heart ; he made his poor friends happy with a generous 
alms, the value of which was doubled by the kind 
words which accompanied the gift. The former 
Procurator of the Grande Chartreuse was found to be 
just as simple, as compassionate, and as generous, as 
they remembered him to have been twenty-five years 

If the poor found him unchanged, we may be quite 
sure that he had not altered his manner to his old 
friends the lay-brothers. As in former days, they were 
never weary of listening to his exhortations. They 

1 Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 14 ; Anna 1. Ord. Cartus, vol. iii. p. 307. 
Cf. Histoire de I ' Eglise de Genlve, Par. M. le Chanoine Fleury, vol. i. 
p. 76. 


found them as full as ever of vigour and tenderness, of 
devotion and spiritual discernment, united to the most 
practical common sense. On his side also, St. Hugh 
was greatly edified by their regularity and fervour. He 
loved to make them speak of the virtues of their state 
of life, and found precious food for his own soul in their 
conversation. He especially took pleasure in listening 
to those who, after having frequented the broad way of 
the world, had left all things to enter upon the narrow 
path of perfection, and were looking forward in all con- 
fidence to their final reward in Heaven. There were 
many amongst their number who were evidently draw- 
ing near to the end of this life ; and the joyous hope 
which shone on their countenances and was expressed 
in their words, found an echo in the heart of the holy 
Bishop, who felt himself more and more detached from 
earth, and drawn towards the City of the Blessed. 

But the time was at last come for him to leave this 
happy solitude, with all its consolations, and to take up 
once more the burden of his episcopal duties. The 
evening before his departure, in the presence of Dom 
Jancelin and all the monks, he handed over to the 
Father Sacristan the most precious treasure he 
possessed. This was a large collection of relics which 
he had procured at different times and in various ways, 
and which he preserved in a silver reliquary, used by 
him in the consecration of churches. No gift could 
have been more acceptable to the Carthusians, who 
profess a traditional veneration for the saints and for 
their sacred remains. This particular present had all 
the more value, because it was bestowed by one who 
was himself so saintly, and in whose case it was not 
difficult to foresee that the day was not far off when his 
own relics would probably be added to these now 
offered for their veneration. 

One treasure of great price St. Hugh still retained. 


This was a gold ring, which he called his sacramental 
ring, because he always used it in ordinations. In the 
place ordinarily occupied by a seal or a precious stone, 
he had had a little reliquary fitted, which contained 
some of his choicest acquisitions. 1 He was on the point 
of leaving this also at the Grande Chartreuse, but was 
reminded that he had promised it to Our Lady of 
Lincoln. So, in its place, he ordered that a reliquary 
of gold, ornamented with precious stones, should be 
sent from his Cathedral Church to his old fellow-monks. 
His chaplain tells us that he, as St. Hugh's executor, 
fulfilled this order after the death of the Saint. 

Then came the last farewells, and St. Hugh parted 
from his brothers of the Grande Chartreuse for the last 
time on earth. On the morrow, he again descended the 
mountain, invoking the favour of God and scattering 
his loving benedictions on the solitude he loved so well. 

1 In a long digression, St. Hugh's biographer speaks of the manner in 
which the Saint acquired some of his most precious relics. The ring of 
gold contained a tooth of St. Benedict, which had been sent to the Bishop 
of Lincoln by the Abbot of Fleury-sur- Loire. When they were thinking 
of sending for the goldsmith to insert this tooth in the little reliquary, the 
man himself appeared and said he knew that he was wanted for this 
purpose, as it had been revealed to him in a mysterious drearn. The Abbey 
of Fecamp was believed to possess one of the bones of St. Mary Magdalen. 
[The Bishop himself, when putting the relic to his lips to kiss it, boldly and 
undisguisedly bit off two fragments to add to his treasures. When 
remonstrated with by the ecclesiastics standing round for what seemed to 
them an act of irreverence, he defended himself by saying that no relic 
was so sacred as the Body and Blood of Christ which he touched both 
with his fingers and his teeth every day in the Mass.] At Peterborough, 
an arm of St. Oswald, King and Martyr, was preserved. It was still 
covered with skin and tinged with blood, as though it had just been cut 
off. St. Hugh took a portion of one of the sinews from this relic and 
placed it in his ring. (Magna Vita, bk. v. ch. 14.) 



The veracity of the author of the Magna Vita is a 
matter of such primary importance in the study of the 
life of St. Hugh, that it seems desirable to make some 
fuller reference to the marvellous account he has left 
of the miracles worked by St. Anthony. It might easily 
be supposed that, despite the very high opinion of 
his truthfulness expressed by Mr. Dimock and other 
authorities, an exception had perhaps to be made for 
his account of miraculous events, and that Abbot Adam, 
like some other mediaeval chroniclers, threw sobriety 
and common sense to the winds the moment he was 
face to face with occurrences presumed to be super- 
natural. A little examination, however, of the details 
which are given in the Magna Vita only confirms instead 
of shaking our confidence in the writer's accuracy. It 
is by no means necessary to believe that St. Hugh and 
his chaplain were really the witnesses at St. Antoine 
of "hundreds, nay, a countless multitude" of real 
miracles, but that they were spectators of extraordinary 
phenomema, which, even now to the non-medical 
reader, sound hardly credible, there is no possible 
reason to doubt. The description indeed of the "sacred 
fire" which we owe to St. Hugh's chaplain, is con- 
spicuously more full and precise than that of any other 
mediaeval chronicler who alludes to the disease, 1 and 
does credit alike to his retentive memory,' 2 and to his 

1 Most of these will be found cited by Fuchs, Das heilige Feucr im 
MitteLittcr in Hecker's Annalen for January, 1834, and by Laveran in 
Dechambre's Dictionnaire Encycloptdiqiie des Sciences Mtdicales, art. ' ' Feu 
sacre\ " 

2 We may reasonably assume that this chapter, like the rest of the 
fifth book of tin- .l/</; r //,/ Vita, was written in the beginning of tin- VIMI 
1213 (cf. Magna Vita, p. 290), that is, more than twelve years after the 
visit to St. Antoine. 


power of observation. To understand what follows it 
will be well to quote his account a little more in detail. 

" In all these miracles," says the Magna Vita, "the 
most marvellous feature is this. When the fire has 
been extinguished in the sufferer's limbs, the flesh or the 
skin, or any member which this consuming disease has 
gradually eaten away, is never in any case restored. 
But what is more extraordinary, when this raging con- 
flagration has destroyed the limb and spared nothing 
but the bare bone, there is given to the maimed parts 
that are left, such health and soundness (sanitas et 
soliditas cicatricibus ipsis residui corporis tanta confertur) that 
you may see numbers of ail ages and of both sexes 
with their arms consumed as far as the elbows or the 
shoulders, or their legs worn away up to and above 
the knees, still showing as much vigour as if they 
were in perfect health (tanqnam sanissimos multa alacritate 
pollere). So fully does the virtue of the Saint com- 
pensate the loss of the parts which are destroyed by 
the soundness of those that are preserved, that even 
the delicate internal organs, exposed though they are 
sometimes, the skin and flesh being stripped from the 
very ribs, do not readily suffer from cold or any 
other injury. The traces of the wounds are horribly 
apparent, but he who has been wounded suffers no 
pain. To all who look upon them they serve as a 
motive for fear as well as a spur to devotion." 

The witness furthur tells us that in nearly all cases 
the cure is worked by St. Anthony within seven days. 
If no relief is felt before that time the malady is 
generally fatal. 

The disease thus minutely described, which in the 
middle ages repeatedly swept certain districts of France 
and Germany, has now happily almost disappeared, 
owing to the cessation in our time of the causes which 
produced it. There seems no doubt that the " sacred 


fire " is identical with the gangrenous affection scientifi- 
cally known as ergotism, and resulting from the use of 
rye bread in bad and wet seasons when the grain is in 
a diseased condition. Ergotism is caused by the 
poisonous effects of ergot, 1 a fungoid growth occurring 
in certain cereals and especially in rye, and it is obvious 
that the imperfect agriculture and the rude methods of 
preparation employed in the middle ages must con- 
siderably have increased the likelihood of the prevalence 
of such a malady. A few isolated outbreaks' 2 have been 
known in modern times, sufficient for Heusinger 3 and 
others to be able to identify the gangrenous ergotism, 4 
which undoubtedly is sometimes produced by the use 
of diseased grain, with the " sacred fire " of the early 
chroniclers. 5 I may leave the medical description to a 
distinguished modern authority. 

" It is almost exclusively among the peasantry that 
symptoms of ergotism have been seen, and among 
children particularly. The attack usually began with 
intense pains in the legs or feet, causing the victims to 

1 Ergot. (French, ergot, a spur of a cock.) A name given to the fungoid 
growth, being the sclerotium of claviceps purpurea, within the paleee of the 
common rye, from its likeness to a cock's spur. A similar growth is found 
in other gramineous plants such as wheat and maize. (Sydcnham Society's 
Dictionary. ) 

2 There is said to have been an epidemic of this kind in Lorraine and 
Burgundy in the winter of 18141815, and another, though much less 
serious, in 1855. Between the years 1770 and 1777, eight thousand people 
are said to have perished of this disease in the same part of France. (See 
Heusinger, pp. 1517.) I am here speaking only of the gangrenous 

3 Studien iiber den Ergotismus, 1856, pp. i 13. 

4 There is another sort of ergotism, the convulsive variety, which springs 
from the same cause but produces a sort of St.Vitus' dance. It is known 
in German as Kriebelkrankhcit. 

5 Cf. Journal dc r Institut Historique, 1841, p. 37, " Recherches sur 
1'Origine de la Maladie nomm6e Feu des Ardents au Moyen Age," par 
V. M. de Moussy. It would seem, however, from the researches of 
Laveran, that the feu sacri is not to be identified with the/<r des ardents, 
though the two are commonly confused. 


writhe and scream. A fire seemed to burn between the 
flesh and the bones, . . . the surface of the body being 
all the while cold as ice. Sometimes the skin of the 
affected limbs became livid and black ; now and then 
large blebs, or blisters, arose upon it, as in bad kinds 
of erysipelas. Gangrene, or sloughing of the extre- 
mities, followed ; a foot or a hand fell off, or the flesh of 
a whole limb was destroyed down to the bone by a 
process which began in the deeper textures. The spon- 
taneous separation of a hand or foot was, on the whole, 
a good sign for the recovery of the patient. Such was 
the ignis sacev, 1 oj^ignis S*.Antonii, which figures promi- 
nently, I am told, in the French legends of saints, and 
of which epidemics are recorded in the French mediaeval 
chronicles." 2 

Dr. Creighton, with good reason, as it seems to me, 
considers that no adequate proof is forthcoming of the 
prevalence of any such malady in England during the 
middle ages, at any rate on a large scale. 3 But he refers 
at the same time to a very interesting sporadic case 
which occurred at Wattisham, Suffolk, in 1762, and 
which is described in Philosophical Transactions. A family, 
who it was afterwards proved had been living upon 
bread made entirely of damaged wheat, were attacked 
one after another by symptoms which exactly agree 
with what St. Hugh and his chaplain witnessed at 
St. Antoine. A violent pain, which one of the sufferers 
described to be as if dogs were gnawing her, was 
followed by the blackening of the extremities and the 

1 It has been suggested to me by a medical friend that the name 
" sacred Jlrc" is probably owing to the blackened, we might almost say the 
charred, appearance of the extremities affected. In German it is note- 
worthy that the word for gangrene is brand, which etymologically must 
mean a burning. Thus gangrana senilis is rendered by Brand der alien. 

2 Creighton, A History of Epidemics in Britain, vol. i. p. 54. 

3 There seems to be some evidence for the existence of occasional 
outbreaks of convulsive ergotism, but not of the gangrenous variety. 



separation of the flesh from the bones. After which 
returning health seems to have left them almost imme- 
diately in a perfectly normal state. A medical witness 
states : 

" I was exact in my inquiries about each particular 
person. By what I could learn from them in about four, 
five, or six days, 1 the diseased leg began to grow les